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Republican mavericks behind city protest

THE ugly face of Republicanism once again cast a shadow over Dublin city centre last night, but whimpered to a hasty retreat due to a lack of interest.

The 32 County Sovereignty Movement -- the shadowy organisation aligned to the Real IRA -- joined forces with the likes of Eirigi, and the Irish Republican Socialist Party for the mayhem.

The ultra left wing movement were involved in ugly scuffles with gardai, who maintained order despite the efforts of a violent few.

The so-called "Right to Work" march ended peacefully, but the hardline Republicans warned they would be back again next week.

There had been fears of widespread trouble following a confrontation at a march last week when a small group tried to storm through the gates of Leinster House.

But Garda reinforcements, were drafted in for last night's protest and they quickly quelled any trouble.

Special public order units were also understood to be on standby to deal with any major rioting.

The march through Dublin's city centre attracted a crowd of between 700 and 1,000 protesters who then gathered to listen to speeches.

There were brief skirmishes with dozens of gardai who were lined up outside Leinster House, with the gates blocked by four gardai on horseback.

The protesters who got close to the gates were called off by a speaker from the republican splinter group, Eirigi -- and told to come back in bigger numbers next week.

"We are going to hold the line, we are not going to fall into their trap," ranted their chief cheerleader through a loudhailer

"Our numbers are not enough this time."

There were regular shouts of "Out, Out, Out", directed at TDs inside in the Dail.

The speakers included Dublin woman Ann Moore, who was evicted with her family from her council house last week.

"We were evicted last week -- now lets evict this Government," she said.

Organisers of the Right to Work march insisted the protest would be peaceful, but there was a minor disturbance at around 7.30pm when some protesters confronted gardai close to the Anglo Irish Bank headquarters on St Stephen's Green.

Gardai said the trouble was not serious.

Then at around 8.45pm, just after most marchers had left, a small group tried to break through gardai lines to get access to Leinster House. The gardai lines held firm and the protesters dispersed after a few minutes. Nobody was injured during the brief scuffles.

A Garda spokesman said today there had been no arrests made.