MEDICAL and security bills for rapist and murderer Geoffrey Evans have cost the taxpayer €1.6m.
The killer has run up the massive bill as he lies close to death in a Dublin hospital, where he has been for the past 90 weeks.
Evans raped and killed two women with his accomplice John Shaw, in one of the country's highest profile crimes.
He has been in an intensive care unit at the Mater Hospital since December 18, 2008.
The Herald has learned that six prison officers are detailed to guard him around the clock in the €1,000-a-day ICU bed.
Their salaries for the 630 days duty plus the bed cost breaks the €1.5m barrier.
Evans' 34 years behind bars make him the costliest prisoner in the history of the State with the bill approaching €4m.
The 68-year-old has been in a coma since undergoing heart-bypass surgery in December 2008, but he is not one of those electronically tagged as part of a new pilot programme for convicts outside prison.
It is unclear if Evans will, or can be, tagged.
He is serving a life sentence for the murder of Mary Duffy (23), a Co Mayo cook whom he, along with associate John Shaw, raped and killed in 1976.
They also murdered Ringsend clerical officer Elizabeth Plunkett the previous month, after abducting her in Brittas Bay, Co Wicklow.
Led by Evans the duo planned to kidnap, rape and murder a woman every week while in the country.
Recently Justice Minister Dermot Ahern revealed that ten offenders are currently taking part by consent in a pilot project for electronic tagging. However he said he is not sure that tagging should be used for sex offenders.
The tagging issue has been highlighted recently with the release last month of rapist Larry Murphy, who served 10-and-a-half years of a 14-year sentence for the rape, abduction and attempted murder of a Co Carlow businesswoman in 2000.
He refused to undergo rehabilitation treatment while in prison but has since agreed to co-operate with the probation service.
Evans and Shaw were both sentenced to life imprisonment in 1978 and are among the longest-serving prisoners in the State.
Last month new figures showed that the cost of accommodating a prisoner fell by more than €15,000 . The average cost of a space in 2009 was €77,222, compares to €92,717 in 2008.
Prior to his hospitalisation Evans -- at an average of €70,000 a year for 32 years -- would have cost the taxpayer a further €2.24m to incarcerate.