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Monday 26 September 2016

Ciara Breen: Gardai received new information on Sunday as bog search continues

Anne Campbell

Published 10/09/2015 | 11:40

Missing Ciara Breen, who was 17 when she disappeared
Missing Ciara Breen, who was 17 when she disappeared
Garda divers begin the search at Balmer's Bog for Ciara Breen
Gardaí searching in an area of bogland near Dundalk town centre for Ciara Breen
Members of the Garda Water Unit conduct a search in connection with the disappearance of Ciara Breen

The search at Balmer's Bog for missing Dundalk teenager Ciara Breen will be 're-evaluated' later this week.

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But thanks to publicity surrounding the search for the 17-year-old, who went missing from her Bachelor's Walk home in 1997, new information has come to light that will 'assist with the investigation'.

Members of the 27th Battalion of the Defence Forces, stationed at Aiken Barracks, have been assisting in the search of the 16 acre site since last Wednesday and remain there on Monday evening.

The search was halted for a short time on Friday when the bomb disposal team had to be called in to carry out a controlled explosion on old bomb component parts uncovered by their searching colleagues. It is understood 'an IRA hide from the 1980s era' was discovered.

The disposal team arrived on site just before 4pm and declared the site safe at 6pm. The search continued on Saturday morning.

The Garda leading the investigation into Ciara's disappearance, Detective Inspector Pat Marry, said 'a good bit of ground' has been covered by the soldiers, 61 of whom were drafted in 'to help in the search in the parts that were proving difficult'.

DI Marry said: 'We wouldn't have the manpower or the expertise to search that part of the site, so they came and helped us and it is hugely appreciated'.

The soldiers will continue their work at Balmer's Bog though the search is to be 're-evaluated' later this week, the fourth week that searching has been done at the sprawling, overgrown ground.

Garda divers begin the search at Balmer's Bog for Ciara Breen
Garda divers begin the search at Balmer's Bog for Ciara Breen

DI Marry said that he, 'like everyone else, is on tenderhooks, expecting the call that just hasn't come yet'.

He added: 'I would say that the investigation is not over by far. The search is only one aspect of the inquiry and even if we don't find her at this stage of the search, it doesn't mean that we won't be going back to it.

Gardaí searching in an area of bogland near Dundalk town centre for Ciara Breen
Gardaí searching in an area of bogland near Dundalk town centre for Ciara Breen

'Like everyone else, I would like to find her'.

And he revealed that as late as Sunday, a person came forward with information to him in relation to the teenager's disappearance. DI Marry said: 'I have said it before and I will continue to say it - there are people here, nowhere else but in Dundalk, who know things that can help but they have to come forward.

Members of the Garda Water Unit conduct a search in connection with the disappearance of Ciara Breen
Members of the Garda Water Unit conduct a search in connection with the disappearance of Ciara Breen

'As late as yesterday (Sunday), someone came forward with something that will help in the case. There are still people in Dundalk who have information that we need and I want to say to them that it not too late to come forward.

'I will listen to them, speak to them, and I guarantee they can put their trust in me and I will not let them down'.

There has been significant progress in Ciara's case since DI Marry took over a number of years ago. A man in his fifties was arrested and questioned in April and a file is being prepared for the DPP. Anyone with information about Ciara's disappearance can contact Dundalk Garda station at 042 9388400 and speak to DI Marry in confidence.

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