(FILES) This file photo taken on June 29, 2017 shows
police patrolling at Stormont castle, seat of the Northern Ireland assembly in Belfast. AFP / Paul FAITH
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Racked by tensions over Brexit, Northern Ireland is now on the brink of direct rule by civil servants in London after the province's semi-autonomous government collapsed a year ago Tuesday.The pro-British Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and the Irish nationalist Sinn Fein are supposed to govern together under a power-sharing accord reached in 1998 to end three decades of sectarian conflict.The DUP has become a key player in the Brexit process following last year's general election in Britain, when British Prime Minister Theresa May lost her parliamentary majority and was forced to rely on the party to govern.This would be a return to a five-year period of rule by the Westminster government between 2002 and 2007 .
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