Northern Ireland

Wanted: Finance officer to work for MI5 in Northern Ireland. Must be British - but finance qualification not essential

MI5 headquarters is based at Palace Barracks in Holywood, Co Down.
MI5 headquarters is based at Palace Barracks in Holywood, Co Down.

SECRET security agency MI5 is recruiting a finance officer for its Northern Ireland operation with a salary of almost £50,000 a year - and the successful applicant doesn't even need a finance qualification.

However, those interested must be British citizens and are advised not to discuss their application with anyone "other than with your partner or a close family member, providing that they are British".

The advertisement adds that anyone confided in "should also be made aware of the importance of discretion".

MI5’s Northern Ireland headquarters is in Palace Barracks, just outside east Belfast.

It has an annual budget in excess of £324m for combating Northern Ireland-related terrorism alone.

The job offers a starter salary of £46,860 a year and despite being for the role of finance officer, it states that a finance qualification - or willingness to work towards one - "would be an advantage although not essential if you have relevant experience or an aptitude for financial management".

"It’s vital you enjoy building strong relationships with partners and customers, sharing advice to inform spending decisions and manage financial risks," it says.

"This is an opportunity to work within a unique finance community, providing dedicated support and ensuring we make the most of our resources."

MI5's budget is paid from the British government's 'Single Intelligence Account' and is currently £1.8 billion a year, increasing to £2.3 billion by 2020.

Of that, almost a fifth is spent directly in Northern Ireland dealing with the local terrorist threat.

This mainly focuses on dissident republican groups although in recent years the security service has also worked on establishing 'persons of interest' linked to Islamic terrorism.

In 2007 MI5 took on responsibility for national security intelligence work in Northern Ireland, bringing arrangements into line with those in the rest of the UK for the first time.

The covert organisation is believed to run informers from within the main dissident organisations, who are paid from the annual budget.