Dissident IRA groups are seeking a foothold once again in America and are making a major push according to reliable sources.

In recent months they have focused on Irish American civil rights activists, many of whom have attended at nationalists events aimed at stopping Orange marchers going through their neighborhoods.

For the first time there is real concern in Republican circles in the US that the dissidents are getting some traction.

They are also focusing on Northern nationalists who now live in America

"We have no doubt they are making major efforts at present. we are well aware of it," said a Republican source. 'They have had people on the ground."

"They want the rioting to continue, arrests to happen, to create sympathy in America for them," said another source referring to recent riots in the North.

As a result the dissidents have stepped up the pressure in nationalist areas in Northern Ireland, aimed at setting off confrontations and focusing on getting irish American sympathy for their cause.

Senior republicans are suddenly fearful that they may be succeeding as the images of Orange marches through nationalist neighborhoods were flashed worldwide this week.

Riots by young people in nationalist areas of the North were widespread over the Orange marching season.

It is believed that dissident groups were behind many of the standoffs.

In many cases they came in from outside.

"They are trying to portray Sinn Fein as being part of the establishment, part of the state that is arresting these young nationalists and putting them away." said the source. "They want to portray this in civil rights terms, young people being arrested and abused by the state."

Since the peace process began the dissidents have had very little luck in getting any support from America.

But two separate sources now confirm that they are making a renewed push for Irish American sympathy in America.