Beragh's Powerful Symbolism
For anyone who remembers the days of Rule 21, the GAA regulation which prevented members of the security forces playing Gaelic sports, or the long term arguments over the army's occupation of part of Crossmaglen's ground, the image of young men and women weaing GAA tops standing alongside other young men and women in police uniforms as part of the shared guard of honour at Ronan Kerr's funeral looks like powerful evidence of a fundamental shift within the nationalist community.
If reports of the Queen visiting Croke Park prove accurate, then the spring of 2011 will be remembered as something of a watershed for the GAA, given the history of British forces opening fire on the crowds there back in 1920.
It's important not to get too carried away - the appearance of graffiti in Derry and the recent disturbances in Craigavon underline the fact that dissidents can still count on some support within specific areas. However if Chairman Mao was right when he said that a guerrilla army needs popular support like a fish needs water then you would have to conclude that the water the dissidents are swimming in is very shallow.