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  Northern Ireland government suspended
Updated 14 October 2002, 16.02
Northern Ireland Secretary Dr John Reid
Northern Ireland Secretary Dr John Reid

The politicians running Northern Ireland have had their powers to make laws taken away by the British government.

From midnight many decisions about how things are run there will by made by people in London instead.

  Click here to find out more about Northern Ireland

It's all happened because one of the main parties has been accused of helping terrorists spy on the UK Government.

Assembly set up

Fact File
Who wants what?
Unionists, who are mainly Protestants, have traditionally wanted Northern Ireland to stay part of the UK
Nationalists, who are mainly Catholics, have wanted it to join the Republic of Ireland and form a united Ireland
Four years ago, after years of fighting in Northern Ireland, an agreement to try and make the country peaceful was signed by the Unionists and the Republicans.

A special government called the Northern Ireland assembly was set up at Stormont.

Here politicians from both sides could work together to control how things in the region were run.

One party accused of spying

Now the political parties have fallen out after members of one of them - Sinn Fein - were accused of stealing secret information to give to the terrorist group the IRA.

Sinn Fein say they haven't done anything wrong but the other parties don't believe them and won't sit down with them in government because of it.

It's not known when the Northern Ireland Assembly will resume its work - but it could be months away.

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What do you think about Northern Ireland?
opening quoteWhat Sinn Fein did was wrong. Not many people in Ireland can forgive them.closing quote
Siobhan, 13, Cork
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