FOUR gardai were injured and at least three men were arrested after a scuffle broke out at a peaceful anti-austerity protest outside a meeting of the European People's Party in Dublin.
A small number of youths wearing black masks, who had been watching the protest, attacked a garda cordon and verbally abused other peaceful demonstrators outside the Convention Centre.
The gardai were hurt when the hooded youths grabbed metal barriers near the Centre and pulled the barriers into the middle of the road.
Gardai, wielding telescopic batons, arrested one of the masked youths and reinforced the metal barrier on the roadway near the Convention Centre.
Meanwhile, Taoiseach Enda Kenny played down speculation linking him with a move to Brussels later this year.
Mr Kenny's name is being mentioned in connection with the EU's two most powerful positions.
He is regarded as still being in contention to be offered the post of European Council President – the chairman of the group of EU prime ministers.
But the Taoiseach is saying he wants to stay to lead Fine Gael into the next election.
"I have got a mandate that is not fulfilled yet, we have a big job at hand here to build on the progress already made," he said.
The EPP will be choosing between France's European Commissioner Michel Barnier and former Luxembourg prime minister Jean-Claude Juncker to become its leader for the European elections.
When asked if he was still ruling himself out of contention for a post in Europe, Mr Kenny said: "There are two candidates left in this race. Delegates are going to vote the same as they do at every branch meeting across the country."
The crisis in Ukraine will dominate today's gathering.
Ukrainian opposition politician Vitali Klitschko said his country is grateful for the support of the Irish people but the Government must put pressure on Russia to withdraw from Crimea.
The former boxer said a solution "without blood" must be found.
Leader of the Ukrainian opposition Yulia Tymoshenko, who was also at the conference, warned that her people are ready to resist Russian moves to annex part of their country.
"Ukrainians are ready to resist. Not just the army – but all citizens. It will be difficult to guarantee the consequences," she told some 2,000 European People's Party (EPP) delegates gathered at the Convention Centre.