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The average cost of jailing the three murderous Dundon brothers and other dangerous criminals at the State's only high security prison shot up last year.

The average cost of jailing the three murderous Dundon brothers and other dangerous criminals at the State's only high security prison shot up last year.

New figures released by the Irish Prison Service (IPS) confirm that it is costing the tax-payer €1,818 per week to jail each prisoner at Portlaoise prison - up from the €1,675 per prisoner cost in 2012.

Figures released by the IPS show that the cost per prisoner space at Portlaoise last year increased by 8.5% from €87,108 to €94,575.

As a result, the combined costs to the tax-payer of jailing convicted murderers, John, Wayne and Dessie Dundon each week costs the tax-payer €5,456 or €283,725 a year.

All three are housed in the A5 unit at Portlaoise and are currently serving life sentences for murder with gang boss, Wayne Dundon (36) convicted of the murder of Limerick businessman, Roy Collins in July.

The 35-year-old father-of-two was shot dead as he worked in the family business in Limerick on April 9, 2009.

John Dundon, 31, is serving life for the murder of Shane Geoghegan, shot dead in a case of mistaken identity in November 2008. Dessie Dundon, 30, is serving life for the murder of rival crime boss Kieran Keane in January 2002.

In total, it last year cost the tax-payer €27.5 million to run Portlaoise in a year that saw the release of one of Portlaoise's most notorious inmates, drug dealer, John Gilligan.

The prison also houses jailed dissident republicans, including the alleged leader of the Real IRA, Michael McKevitt.

The cost of jailing the country's most dangerous criminals at Portlaoise is far in excess of the average annual cost of funding the state's 4,426 prison spaces which is costed at €65,542 each.

The IPS state that the 2013 €65,542 cost represents "a very small increase on the 2012 cost of €65,404".

A chief factor behind the rise in costs of housing the state's most dangerous prisoners at Portlaoise is the number of prison spaces going down from 316 in 2012 to 291 last year with overall fixed costs not dropping.

The average cost relates to the running costs of operating the prisons and doesn't factor in capital expenditure.

A breakdown of the costs of housing prisoners at Portlaoise show that prisoner related fixed costs that concerns mainly prisoner officers' pay total €66,981 per prisoner with non-custodial costs, including prisoner escorts totalling €15,129 per prisoner.

Prisoner related costs including catering, healthcare, prisoner gratuities, clothing, bedding, recreational facilities, laundry and drug detection totalled €6,177 per prisoner while accommodation related variable costs totalled €6,287.

The cost per prisoner at Portlaoise is more than twice the cost of housing prisoners at the country's two open prisons at Shelton Abbey and Loughan House where the cost per prisoner last year increased from €41,968 to €44,133.

The figures show that the average cost of accommodating prisoners in closed prisons that includes the likes of Mountjoy, Limerick and Cork prisons last year decreased from €65,218 to €64,771.

The IPS reported that yesterday the Irish prison system was at 92% capacity with 3,858 prisoners behind bars.