IT'S the shadowy service that nobody knows much about. But new figures released by the Department of Finance show that Ireland's secret service budget has almost doubled for the coming year.
Revised estimates for public expenditure, published yesterday, revealed that the service will cost the state €1m in 2011, up by 72pc from €581,000 last year.
It is one of the few areas of public expenditure that has survived the cutting board. It is unclear exactly why its budget has increased.
However, Ireland has no secret service -- various Garda units and the Army Directorate of Intelligence, or G-2 gather intelligence on criminals, terrorists and Islamic extremists.
The funds voted under the secret service heading cover monies paid to informants.
"It's highly confidential and the cost is signed off by the secretary general, for his eyes only," a spokesman for the department said. He added that the service is "simply something that's not discussed".
A rise from €16.5m in 2010 to €34.4m in 2011 for construction projects in the prison system was among the other increases in planned spending.
Much of this is taken up with plans for a new prison block at Midlands Prison as well as Thornton Hall, Dublin's planned 'superprison'.
The estimates, which are a standard stage of the budgetary process each year, give a more detailed breakdown of spending than provided on Budget day.
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