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The opening date for the new Church of Scientology in Firhouse has been revealed – DublinLive

The Church of Scientology is to hold a grand opening of its new “Ideal Org” at the former Victory Centre in Firhouse on October 14 next week.

The property was bought last year for around €6 million, €12 million less than what it was valued at seven years ago.

The new premises comes complete with a 1,100-seat ‘grand auditorium’, even though the 2016 Census only recorded 87 Scientologists in Ireland.

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”.

Some 250 Scientologists are being recruited from around the world to staff this new HQ. Nwoga Chukwuebuka Paschal, an African recruit for the Dublin centre, posted on Facebook that he had signed a five-year contract.

He revealed: “I am the first Nigerian to be signed by the Dublin mission but will never be the last. I will probably spend more time abroad within these five years, but will surely have time to bring every good news or package to Nigeria or Africa.”

Pete Griffiths, an ex-Scientologist from Co Mayo, said: “From 1987 to 2008, the thought control was all in place. Then a lengthy unravelling process began.

“I got so angry that I burned any Scientology stuff I had lying around in a bonfire. I couldn’t look at it any more. The sense of betrayal is just incredible. The clues are all there, but you don’t see them.”

David Miscavige, leader of the Church of Scientology since the death of L. Ron Hubbard in 1986, will be in Dublin for the opening.”

Scientologists set to convert church – The Sunday Times

Religious movement preparing to bring in 100 staff to operate Victory Centre in south Dublin as training camp for new recruits

The Church of Scientology says it is recruiting 100 staff to help to run a new Irish training centre in a former Christian church in Firhouse, south Dublin, that it has bought for €6m.

The movement, considered a cult in some countries, has set up a Facebook page with pictures of the staff it claims to have recruited for its Ideal Ireland Org.

The pictures purport to show new recruits from around the world receiving their Scientology accreditation after completing various levels of training at one of the group’s bases.

There are also photographs of the recruits arriving at Dublin airport and entering staff apartments, said to be a temporary measure until “we move into the new building” when “they will move into the beautiful staff housing”.

Photos were also posted of a recent event at Scientology’s British headquarters in East Grinstead, Sussex, southern England, where green cupcakes were distributed to encourage members to sign up as recruits for the new Irish centre.

The pictures and posts were removed on Friday after The Sunday Times asked the church about its plans for Dublin.

Among the few Irish people in the photos was Michael O’Donnell, a long-time member of the church in Ireland. The caption said O’Donnell was the senior “C/S Dublin” and had completed his new era dianetics auditor course and “Class IV internship”. Dianetics is a pseudo science of ordering one’s mind invented by the science fiction author L Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology.

Brian Lawlor, a Fine Gael councillor, has this month obtained an invoice showing the Church of Scientology was paying for the renovation of the Victory Centre, the former Christian church in Firhouse, with a 1,300-seater auditorium and other facilities. An invoice for light fitting gave a shipment address as the Church of Scientology Ireland Community Centre.

The Victory Centre was put on sale by Bank of Scotland Ireland after its previous owners, the Victory Christian Fellowship, ran up debts of €18.5m. Goldman Sachs is reported to have bought the centre before selling it to the Scientologists.

The Church of Scientology has declined to explain its plans for Firhouse. Staff in Dublin and London insist questions must be emailed, but no response has been received since July 5.

Lawlor said his multiple attempts to engage with the church had been ignored. The sect has celebrity members such as the actors Tom Cruise, John Travolta and Elisabeth Moss.

Nwoga Chukwuebuka Paschal, an African recruit for the Dublin centre who spoke to The Sunday Times via Facebook, said he had signed a five-year contract. He had no idea what he would be doing in Ireland, as this would be determined by how well he performed in his training in America. “I am the first Nigerian to be signed by the Dublin mission but will never be the last,” he posted. “I will probably spend more time abroad within these five years, but will surely have time to bring every good news or package to Nigeria or Africa.”

Lawlor said the Victory church had let a creche for more than 60 children operate in the building, while a youth club had also used the facility. He said he would not encourage anyone to use the centre because the Scientologists were refusing to engage with the community.

“I have been contacted by people whose family members have had bad experiences after getting in with Scientology,” said Lawlor. “It’s a real shame this facility has been lost to the community as it would have made a great school. My contacts tell me this is to be a training facility for [the Scientologists] . . . They have shown no community spirit — by refusing to engage with local representatives — so it’s not a good start.”

Last week security on the site tried to stop a Sunday Times photographer taking pictures of the Victory Centre.”

Thousands spent on staff by Church of Scientology – Sunday Business Post

The controversial Church of Scientology has leased around two dozen staff houses and apartments at two locations in Dublin and Wicklow for church members, The Sunday Business Post has learned.

The church has leased properties from Brookman Town Homes in Donnybrook in Dublin, which lets out corporate and holiday apartments and houses at a Dublin 4 complex. according to a source who assisted with its plans.

At a holiday village location close to the Wicklow mountains, meanwhile. it has taken leases up until Christmas on around a dozen holiday and short let homes, with letting commitments amounting to more than 650,000. and accommodation with capacity for over 40 people.

Dozens of staff from overseas have arrived here in recent months.

The staff accommodation requirements are believed to relate to enhanced activity by the Church of Scientology in Ireland. including its acquisition of the Victory Centre, a large conference and events centre in Firhouse in Tallaght during the summer.

Acquired for €6 million, it is intended to be a hub for a major European mission for the church, which opened a new national office on Merrion Square in Dublin last year.

A website and Facebook page called Ideal Ireland Org, which gave as its contact address, and detailed photos of overseas personnel arriving at staff accommodation in Dublin, but have now been taken down, having attracted media attention.

The church’s Foundation for a Drug Free World has been active at education events here to combat what it calls the “plague” of abuse of street and prescription drugs in Ireland. It also took stand space at an event for transition year students in Leopardstown in south Dublin during the summer.

‘After I got out it was very, very difficult…’: Irish ex-Scientology members tell their stories – The Irish Mirror

The Church of Scientology opened a new National Affairs Office on Dublin’s Merrion Square a year ago.

The group founded by sci-fi writer L Ron Hubbard – which counts Tom Cruise and John Travolta as members – said it aims to tackle homelessness and drugs.

Last week supporters of its teachings were out in force at The Square shopping centre in Tallaght handing out leaflets.

And the organisation has reportedly just bought a 1,200-seat former church in nearby Firhouse.

Some consider it a cult to the stars, others a harmless self-help group.

Here former members living in Ireland tell their stories.

Sitting in a sauna for up to four hours and taking 300mg of Niacin in one go during the month-long purification process didn’t deter John McGhee.

Even when he “started glowing bright red” and was told it was the “radiation leaving his body” he stuck with it.

It was only when he moved on to the survival programme to “clear his thoughts” and witnessed a fellow recruit have a mental breakdown he decided he’d had enough.

John, now working as an embalmer and living in Clara, Co Offaly, told the Irish Sunday Mirror: “He was my course twin and we had to keep telling each other to walk across the room and touch the wall. I saw him have a complete meltdown. He physically changed in front of me. He went grey, was sweating.

“He said, ‘Help me please, I feel terrible’. His face dropped but I didn’t know what to do.” John panicked and called the supervisor from the next room who in turn called for the “lead auditor” to assess the situation.

He recalled: “They said he would have to have repair auditing at their Saint Hill centre in England and that it would cost €6,000 but he had to come up with the money before they would fix him. That was it for me.

“I checked out in 2008. To this day that poor guy hasn’t received that fix as far as I know but he’s still with them and won’t talk to me. 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 lost his home and had to start from scratch after he spent years working for the organisation – on zero wages.

He 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.

Pete, who lives in Mayo, said: “Whatever money you made a percentage went to your ‘upline’.

“And whatever you sold in terms of books you had to replace.

“If you do everything available to you in terms of courses and material it can end up costing you anything from €350,000 to €500,000.

“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.

“Certain emotions are discouraged, including sympathy – that’s why Scientologists seem so cold-hearted.

“My brother was in the Sea Org, which is hardcore, for 24 years.

“He left five years ago and still won’t talk to me about his experience.

“It’s like he’s still in the mindset and needs something to wake him up. I still don’t know how he got out.

“I had to escape without telling them because even if you say you want to leave there are a number of steps you have to go through aimed at persuading you to stay and it can take years.”

John Duignan, who documented his experience in a book called The Complex, left in 2006 but admitted it took him a decade to readjust to “outside” life.

He spent 22 years in the Sea Org – Scientology’s most dedicated group whose members once wore naval uniform and lived on ships in international waters.

He told the Irish Sunday Mirror: “I didn’t see the light of day for 20 years. The system is a pressure cooker because you’re with these people 24 hours a day.

“They got me when I was very depressed. Three pretty girls asked me to fill in a questionnaire and from there I was roped in. You live in a bubble. There’s no radio, TV, newspapers, and the internet is banned.

“Then I began to unravel the whole thing and could no longer accept the teachings – that non-Scientologists are called WOGs and considered not quite up to standard, and if you’re disabled you’re called a degraded being.”

John left “on the sly” with a bag of belongings before going home to Cork.

He said: “After I got out it was very, very, very difficult. I had fallen to pieces. I was in a dangerous suicidal depression.

“But I finally realised Scientology does not work in the real world – and that I’d wasted more than 20 years of my life.”