Man released after questioning over Ciara Breen disappearance

Ciara, last seen at her Dundalk home in 1997, was 17 at the time she went missing

Photograph of Ciara Breen released by gardaí when she went missing in 1997

Photograph of Ciara Breen released by gardaí when she went missing in 1997


A man has been released without charge after being arrested on Tuesday in connection with the disappearance of 17-year-old Ciara Breen in 1997.

The arrest on Tuesday was the first in the 18 years since Ms Breen was last seen alive at her home in Dundalk, Co Louth.

The man is in his 50s and from Dundalk. He was released without charge and a file is being prepared for the DPP.

He was known to Ms Breen but is not related to her.

Gardaí have in the past regarded him as a suspect in the case and believe he was in Ms Breen’s company after she was last seen alive by her mother at their Dundalk home.

But it was only when new information came to light relating to sightings of Ms Breen that gardaí believed they had sufficient grounds to arrest the suspect.

He was detained under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act and was held at Drogheda Garda Station until Wednesday morning.

Ms Breen was last seen in her Dundalk home, on Bachelor’s Walk, by her mother Bernadette on the night of February 12th into the early hours of the 13th in 1997.

She explained at the time they had both gone to bed just after midnight.

“I got up at 2am to go to the toilet and I looked in (her bedroom) and was she wasn’t there. She didn’t take any money or clothes with her. It is as if she went to meet somebody and did not get back.”

Bernadette Breen believes Ciara had left a window on the latch so she could climb back in. She waited for her to return but she never saw Ciara again.

Last July a new witness contacted gardaí and relayed information about a credible sighting of Ms Breen after her mother had last seen her alive.

Last November another witness came forward with another sighting dating back to the time Ciara disappeared.

The Garda investigation also received two anonymous letters about the case late last year; one in November and one in December.

Ms Breen’s case was part of Operation Trace which was established by the Garda in 1998 to determine if there were links between the disappearances of a number of women in the Leinster area.

Other cases examined include the disappearances of Deirdre Jacob, Annie McCarrick, Jo Jo Dullard, Fiona Sinnott, Fiona Pender and Eva Brennan.

No connection was found and none of the women’s remains have been discovered nor has anybody been charged with any crime in relation to their disappearances presumed murders.