Protesters have let off flares and fireworks at Gardaí after three young children were injured in a stabbing outside a primary school in the city centre earlier.
Gardaí with riot shields have been holding back crowds around O'Connell Street and Parnell Street amid anger following the attack which injured five people in total.
A car and two double-decker buses have been set on fire, while a blaze has also broken out inside a damaged Luas tram.
In a statement this evening, the President Michael D. Higgins slammed groups attempting to use the attack to push an “agenda that attacks the principle of social inclusion”.
“All of our thoughts are with each of the children and their families affected by today's horrific attack outside Gaelscoil Coláiste Mhuire in Dublin city centre,” he said.
“We are particularly thinking of the five-year-old girl and the member of staff caring for her who are both in serious condition in hospital. All of our prayers are with each of them for a full recovery.
“The Gardaí deserve all of our support in dealing with this incident.
“This appalling incident is a matter for the Gardaí and that it would be used or abused by groups with an agenda that attacks the principle of social inclusion is reprehensible and deserves condemnation by all those who believe in the rule of law and democracy.”
Luas operator Transdev said the tram was stationary with no passengers or staff onboard.
It said all services have been suspended until tomorrow morning due to the protests on Parnell Street.
The company said there is also "significant damage" to the overhead power Lines on O'Connell Street.
Dublin Bus services have also been curtailed, with NBRU members being advised to pull all buses back to their garages.
Gardaí confirmed earlier that three children, a man and a woman were taken to hospitals around Dublin shortly after 1.30pm.
One of the children, a five-year-old girl, is in a serious condition following the attack near Gaelscoil Coláiste Mhuire on Parnell Square East.
This evening violent demonstrators were attempting to kick and punch Gardaí and there are ongoing scuffles, with bottles being thrown.
There were also reports of a fire on the northern end of O'Connell Bridge.
Some shops in the area were said to have moved customers off the ground floor of their premises earlier.
Footage has been also posted online showing looting at Arnotts department store.
A Garda Public Order Unit has been deployed to control the disorder.
Gardaí have said the earlier stabbing is believed to be 'a standalone incident' and not connected to any wider issues.
They have also ruled out terrorism.
Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said earlier that speculation around the identity of the alleged attacker was unhelpful.
"There's a lot of speculation and I think some of it is extremely unhelpful to point of being malicious," he said.
"A full investigation [is] underway, proper authorities - i.e. An Garda Síochána - have now swung place.
"There's a criminal justice response in terms of this incident.
"There's a proper way of dealing with this.
"Now really our thoughts and prayers are with the families and those who are the victims of this awful attack," he added.
Justice Minister Helen McEntee said she was "deeply shocked" by the "appalling attack on three innocent children and a woman".
"All our thoughts are with those injured, especially with the children, their parents and families, during this extremely difficult period," she said.