Soldiers drafted in to search for Ciara Breen

The Garda investigation into the disappearance of missing Dundalk teenager Ciara Breen, took another twist yesterday as members of the defence forces were drafted in to help with the ongoing search of the Balmers bog area of the county Louth town.

The 61 soldiers from the 27th Infantry battalion, based in Dundalk’s Aiken barracks, were on the site of the search.

Their efforts were interrupted 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.

The disposal team arrived on site just before 4pm and declared the site safe at 6pm. The search will continue in the morning.

Ciara went missing from her home at Bachelor’s Walk 17 years ago, on February 13, 1997. She was 17 at the time.

The search effort is in its third week and has been a long and painstaking ordeal that has seen grass and reeds cut away and the choked Ramparts river painstakingly searched by officers with Garda dogs also brought in.

The garda leading the investigation, Detective Inspector Pat Marry said he is convinced there are people in Dundalk who have information that have yet to come forward.

“We have made very significant progress, we are still appealing for people to come forward and would like to thank those people who have come forward, but we really need those who may not yet have contacted us to do so.”

Garda divers who commenced the search last Tuesday were not at Balmer’s Bog on Wednesday, due to the atrocious weather conditions, but are, DI Marry said, expected to return.

Last week, specialist cadaver dogs, trained in England, were brought to the area to help with the search.

On the night she went missing Ciara was last seen by her mother Bernadette, who said at the time they had both gone to bed just after midnight.

Last April a man in his 50s was arrested in connection with Ciara’s case and was later released without charge.

A file was prepared for the DPP.

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