I have always found it difficult to understand the thinking of dissident republicans. Their aim is 32 county united Ireland but they are not interested in politics. They wish to force their way to their ultimate aim but many republicans would admit that armed conflict is not a realistic or acceptable option.
This message has been accepted by the dissidents, they know they can't wage a sustained campaign. They have to create the conditions for a sustained armed campaign backed by all republicans but the manner in which they are attempting to achieve this "legitimacy" is through breeding sectarianism. The murder today of 25 year old Ronan Kerr, a new catholic police recruit in Omagh, blown up outside his mother's house will hopefully highlight to everyone that the dissidents are not republicans they are sectarian bigots who are killing their own people in an effort to stoke sectarian tensions.
The reality is sectarianism can be instilled in a person especially young working class children and many many people in N Ireland are sectarian to some degree. The plan for the dissidents it seems is to change people's thinking. They want moderates to have reason to become more extreme but sectarianism can only be stoked if there is a legitimate reason. I don't think about the death of a policeman as the work of the fenian bastards. I view it as the work of dangerously misguided criminals. Sectarianism won't be stoked by this murder or the deliberate hoaxes placed by dissidents in nationalist areas of Belfast in recent weeks. The people of N Ireland are not stupid they have lived with conflict and do not want to return there. Catholics may get annoyed at the police when they are moved from their homes but they know that neither the police or loyalists are to blame. They also know that a policeman does not deserve to be shot because he is a catholic.
Sectarianism cannot be used to create war in N Ireland because catholics and protestants have no legitimate reason to hate each other. They will always disagree over parades, flags and other trivial matters but times have changed and the people of N Ireland are treated as equal by everyone except the dissidents and their bigoted friends.