Up to 40 gardaí, including officers in riot gear, have facilitated the safe passage of construction machinery at a controversial bridge site in Kilkenny city.

Gardaí cordoned off Green's Bridge and part of Irishtown shortly after 4am.

Campaigners had been involved in a 24-hour protest at the site of the multi-million euro Central Access Scheme proposed by Kilkenny Council.

Protesters believe the scheme will damage Kilkenny's medieval heritage.

Two protesters camped overnight contacted others when gardaí moved in. 

As more campaigners joined in, the protest remained peaceful and there were no arrests, but one person was cautioned.

A pile driver machine essential for the building of the bridge over the Nore then made its way onto the site.

Work has continued, and the protests are ongoing.