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Protests expected as Church of Scientology centre to open in Dublin – Irish Examiner

The Head of Scientology will visit Dublin tomorrow to open a new centre for the religion.

The building in Firhouse will include a conference centre with room for 1,100 people, but the census shows there are just 87 scientologists in Ireland.

Former scientologist, Pete Griffiths, does not believe that figure is accurate.

He said: “I actually don’t think there is that many.

“I think some people just put that down as a joke, as people do sometimes on the census, they put down anything.”

No one knows yet what the building will actually be used for, and that is causing some concern among locals.

Local county councillors were invited to see the new building, with many saying they will not go and one telling the organisers that he did not want to go in alone.

One local councillor, Dermot Looney, said on Twitter that he will have nothing to do with them and that he will monitor the situation to make sure no vulnerable people are targetted.

Another local representative, Councillor Charlie O’Connor said:: “There is a lot of mystery around this, and I think that’s unfortunate.

“I think the ball is now clearly in the court of the Scientology people to answer those question and just to repeat the phrase ‘be good neighbours’.”

The centre is due to open tomorrow, with protests expected.

Head Of Scientology To Open New Dublin Centre – Today FM

The head of Scientology will visit Dublin tomorrow to open a new centre for the religion.

The building in Firhouse will include a conference centre with room for 1,100 people – despite Census figures showing there are just 87 scientologists here.

Former scientologist Pete Griffiths doesn’t believe that Census figure is accurate – he reckons the organisation may have an even smaller presence here.

Nobody knows yet what the building will actually be used for, and that’s causing some concern among locals.

There has been some speculation it could become the organisation’s European HQ post-Brexit.

Local councillors have refused invitations to tour a the new building in south-west Dublin.

The centre is due to open tomorrow, with protests expected.

Church of Scientology to hold ‘grand opening’ of new 1,100-seat centre in Firhouse, Dublin – Irish Mirror

The head of the Church of Scientology will attend the opening of a new 1,100-seat centre in Dublin tomorrow.

David Miscavige, who has led the cult since the death of founder L. Ron Hubbard in 1986, will fly into the capital for the event which takes place on Saturday morning, according to the group Ex-Scientologists Ireland.

The property, the former Victory Centre in Firhouse, Dublin, was bought last year for around €6m – €12m less than what it was valued at in 2010, the group said.

It includes a 1,100-seat ‘grand auditorium’, despite the fact that there are only 87 registered members of Scientology in the country, according to the 2016 Census.

However, it is believed 250 members from around the world will arrive to staff the new HQ.

A protest is expected to take place at the centre tomorrow.

The new ‘Ideal Organisation’, a term used by Scientology to describe a church that provides full services to ‘parishioners’ along with community programs, is believed be its new base in Europe.

Mike Rinder, former Executive Director of Scientology’s Office of Special Affairs, describes the Ideal Org strategy as a “real estate, money making scheme and PR campaign for internal scientologists”.

Scientology has so far failed to gain religious or charitable status in Ireland and was failing to make a profit up until last year.

It opened a new National Affairs Office in Dublin’s Merrion Square a year ago. There is another centre open on Middle Abbey Street.

Famous members include actors Tom Cruise, John Travolta and Kirstie Alley.

In a rare interview about it last year, Tom Cruise said “it’s something that has helped me incredibly in my life”.

He added: “I’ve been a Scientologist for over 30 years. It’s something, you know, without it, I wouldn’t be where I am. So it’s a beautiful religion. I’m incredibly proud.”

Some of Scientology’s most famous adherents, like actress Leah Remini, and writer/director Paul Haggis, have split with the church.

Scientology has faced numerous controversies over the years, from its claim that mental illness doesn’t exist to rumours they believe in an extraterrestrial being named Xenu.

Former Irish Scientologist John McGhee previously told the Irish Sunday Mirror that he only left when he saw a fellow recruit suffer a mental breakdown.

He said: “For me it was like an onion. There are mild layers on the outside but when you get to the centre it’s more sinister and it will sting you.”

Pete Griffiths, who lost his home and had to start from scratch after he spent years working for the organisation on zero wages, insisted his experience taught him there was no more to Scientology than recruiting followers and persuading them to buy books and enrol on expensive courses.

He added: “I was involved for seven years but the mental damage went on for a lot longer. There’s a lot of love-bombing at the start. It’s very subtle the way it happens but it is a form of mind control.”

Hit documentary filmmaker Louis Theroux released his new exposé on Scientology this week.

My Scientology Movie! features young actors “auditioning” for parts playing high-profile Scientologists in scenes recreating detailed accounts from ex members of the controversial church.

The trailer sees Louis travelling all over the states in a bid to learn more about the mysterious cult.

Protests to mark opening of new Scientology base in Ireland – The Irish Times

Protesters against the Church of Scientology will demonstrate outside its new base in south Dublin on Saturday.

The church has purchased the former Victory Outreach Centre in Firhouse Road for a reported €6 million as a place for its members to study and hold meetings. Such venues are known in scientology as “ Ideal Orgs ”.

The protesters, many of whom are ex-members of the church, will gather for what they anticipate will be the opening of the centre by Scientology leader David Miscavige.

The Victory Outreach Centre was formerly used as a Christian church. It accommodates 1,200 people, but the Church of Scientology has just 87 members in Ireland according to the 2016 census.

Nevertheless, the organisation also set up the National Affairs Office of Ireland in Merrion Square last year. Scientology founder L Ron Hubbard lived in Merrion Square for a time in the 1950s.

On its website the organisation says its purpose in Ireland is to “hope for a better world and for happier lives, and to share the practical solutions that turn those hopes into reality”.

Dialogue Ireland Trust director Mike Garde, who has spent decades investigating cultism, said the aim of Scientology is the “infiltration of Irish society” despite having very few members in Ireland.

He said the cost of the building will be used as a tax write-off in the United States.

“Why would they want to have a massive Georgian building in sight of the Dáil? It’s called a trophy construct,” he said.

Mr Garde said the warm reception given in 2013 to the actor Tom Cruise, the most famous scientologist follower and an influential member of the church, convinced the leadership that Ireland will be a soft touch.

Ex-scientologist Pete Griffiths suggested that setting up such a huge operation in Ireland made no sense given the minimal number of followers it has in Ireland. “The words white elephant come to mind,” he said. “I think it is just to convince the membership Scientology is expanding when in fact it is shrinking.”

He suggested that, although membership is shrinking, the church itself remains very wealthy and can afford premises like the one it has purchased in Firhouse.

Mr Griffiths said he was “99 per cent” certain Mr Miscavige will be at the opening on Saturday. “He has never missed the opening of an Ideal Org worldwide,” he said.

Scientology was founded by L Ron Hubbard in 1952. It has been dogged by controversy from the beginning and described as a brainwashing cult.

It operates a policy of disconnection where members are encouraged to distance themselves from their families if family members do not agree with their beliefs.

Local Fine Gael councillor Brian Lawlor said the church had originally wanted to open the building to the public on Saturday but chose not to when protesters started to show up outside.

Mr Lawlor said he discovered an invoice addressed to the “Church of Scientology Ireland Community Centre”in July which was the first indication that the building was being purchased by the organisation.
“From the emails I have got about them, I am very sceptical about their intentions,” he said.

Phonecalls and emails to the Church of Scientology in Ireland were not answered.

Vast Scientology complex to be opened in Dublin tomorrow amid mystery about what it will be used for – The Irish Independent

The head of the Church of Scientology will visit Ireland tomorrow for the grand opening of their vast new centre in Dublin.

Church of Scientology head David Miscavige will supervise the ceremonies to mark the launch of the new complex at Firhouse in Dublin.

The centre – dubbed an ‘Ideal Org’ in church language – was developed in a complex previously used as a Christian facility.

In 2013, the property involved was the focus of High Court proceedings by the Bank of Scotland over an €18m debt.

It has not been used as a religious centre for four years.

The Church of Scientology is understood to have purchased the property via a third party last year.

The complex was purchased for a reported €6m – less than half what it was valued at in 2010.

However, the future purpose of the huge complex remains shrouded in mystery, with some church experts predicting it could be used as a new European headquarters.

The ‘Ideal Org’ comes complete with a conference centre capable of hosting more than 1,100 members.

That is several times the total estimated number of Church of Scientology members in Ireland. Two centres are already operated at Middle Abbey Street and in Merrion Square.

It is understood that the new Firhouse complex will be operated by a staff of up to 250, all of whom will be foreign volunteers.

An official at the Church of Scientology centre in Middle Abbey Street declined to comment on the matter.