Category Archives: News

HSE denies backing Drug Free World Scientology programme – The Echo

The Echo understands that the outreach worker is a HSE representative on a sub-committee of the Tallaght Drugs and Alcohol Task Force, but is not a member nor the co-ordinator.

In a comment to The Echo this week, a spokeswoman for the HSE said: “[The outreach worker] was not attending the event in her capacity as a HSE outreach worker, she was attending as a member of the community in her personal capacity.

ANSWERS are being sought from the HSE over a situation whereby one of its drug outreach workers spoke in favour of the Church of Scientology’s Drug Free World programme at the opening of the organisation’s new hub on the Firhouse Road.

More than 1,200 Scientologists and their guests attended the members-only event on Saturday, October 14 – during which a HSE outreach worker, who was described as the ‘Tallaght Drugs Task Force Coordinator’, praised the work of the organisation’s Drug Free World programme.

In a transcript of her speech, posted by the Church of Scientology, the outreach worker said: “You’ve reached out your hand to addicts, the homeless, at-risk youth, immigrant families and Irish people of every background.

“In fact, nothing more needs be said, when you’ve already given over 500,000 people of Ireland the Truth about Drugs.”

The Echo understands that the outreach worker is a HSE representative on a sub-committee of the Tallaght Drugs and Alcohol Task Force, but is not a member nor the co-ordinator.

In a comment to The Echo this week, a spokeswoman for the HSE said: “[The outreach worker] was not attending the event in her capacity as a HSE outreach worker, she was attending as a member of the community in her personal capacity.

“The HSE does not endorse the Scientology ‘Drug Free World’ Programme.”

However, local Labour Party councillor and member of the Tallaght Drugs and Alcohol Task Force, Mick Duff said: “I’m a little bewildered how a HSE outreach worker was able to be described as the Tallaght Drugs Task Force Co-ordinator – which she plainly isn’t.

“I have also asked questions of the HSE as to how she could describe herself in that way.

“I would also like the HSE to offer an explanation on how one of its employees can be linked to this organisation while having a role as an outreach worker with access to homeless and vulnerable people.”

He added: “The Tallaght Drugs and Alcohol Task Force is not associated with the Drugs Free World programme and the task force hasn’t visited the new centre.”

Cllr Duff also raised concerns over Drug Free World leaflets making their way into a number of local schools.

A spokesman for the Church of Scientology told The Echo that the HSE outreach worker “wasn’t invited [to speak] in her capacity as a HSE worker or any other organisation”.

He said: “She was invited as a Tallaght anti-drug activist”.

It was not made clear how the outreach worker was incorrectly described as ‘Tallaght Drugs Task Force Coordinator’.

http://www.echo.ie/news/article/hse-denies-backing-drug-free-world-scientology-programme

Anti-racism charity ‘duped’ into speaking at Scientology event – Irish Times

Anti-racism charity ‘duped’ into speaking at Scientology event

A HSE drugs counsellor and a government funded anti-racism charity praised the work of the Church of Scientology during the opening of the controversial organisation’s new Dublin facility.

A representative of the charity, Sports against Racism Ireland (Sari), outlined at the event how it distributes Scientology-produced literature to those taking part in its programmes around the country.

The event was also addressed by a HSE drugs worker who praised Scientology-supported anti-drugs programmes.

On October 14th last, the Church of Scientology opened the “Ideal Org” centre in Firhouse, Tallaght, which includes a 1,050-seat auditorium.

Scientology has been criticised elsewhere for using seemingly innocuous front groups, such as drugs and human rights organisations, to establish itself in a country and to recruit members from vulnerable communities.

A spokeswoman defended its programmes yesterday and described critics of its drugs programme as “religious bigots” who “complain about anything, even saving the life of a mother’s child”.

In recent years it has stepped up its anti-drugs and anti-psychiatry campaigns in Ireland. This has coincided with the opening of a “national affairs office” on Merrion Square in 2016, the first such office to open outside the US.

Both the HSE and Sari distanced themselves from Scientology when contacted by The Irish Times and said they do not endorse Scientology programmes, with one Sari official saying it was “duped” into taking part in the event.

The event included a speech by church leader David Miscavige and an address by Amina Moustafa Keogh, described as a “programme director” with Sari.

Sari chairman Perry Ogdan said he believes the church misrepresented his organisation as supporting Scientology and he was “still trying to get to the bottom of what happened”.

He said Ms Keogh went with the understanding that she would be speaking at a separate event and not at the opening ceremony.

Another Sari official, who asked not to be identified, said Ms Keogh had been “duped” into appearing at the event and he had threatened legal action against Scientology if it did not remove a report from the web mentioning her appearance.

“The plan was we would go out and talk about human rights and nothing else. Then to our surprise and shock her photograph appeared with a quotation on their website. It’s crazy.

“We were basically duped into attending. Amina was duped into making a short speech.”

He said Sari has distributed Scientology affiliated human rights material to children in the past but not recently. The materials, which have been seen by The Irish Times, are funded and printed by Scientology but do not mention the organisation.

Sari promotes sport as a means of combating racism and other forms of discrimination. In 2015, some 40 per cent (€31,500) of its funding came from government sources.

HSE drug outreach worker Nicola Keating also made a speech endorsing Scientology’s “Drug Free World” programme which she said was “straight-talking and speaks to everyone”, the Scientology website stated.
A HSE spokeswoman told The Irish Times: “Ms Keating was not attending the event in her capacity as a HSE outreach worker, she was attending as a member of the community in her personal capacity.

“The HSE does not endorse the Scientology ‘Drug Free World’ programme,” she added.

Asked about the nature of both women’s appearance at the event, a Scientology spokeswoman said: “Both Ms Keating and Ms Keogh were invited to speak, which they were happy to do.”

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/anti-racism-charity-duped-into-speaking-at-scientology-event-1.3266268

Church of Scientology claims 1,200 attended new Irish centre launch – Sunday Business Post

Councillor claims concerns raised over Church of Scientology events

An “afternoon of family fun and Alice in Wonderland children’s activities” and other events hosted by the Church of Scientology at its new Dublin centre have been the subject of local concern, a councillor in the area has said.

On Halloween night, the church hosted its Trick or Treat in Firhouse’ event, which South Dublin Fine Gael Councillor Brian Lawlor said had caused some of his t constituents to get in contact with him.

This, along With this Sunday’s ‘Autumn Family Fun Day’ and next Sunday’s ‘Alice in Wonderland Family Day’ are among a series of children and family events at its seven-acre compound 3 in Firhouse in Tallaght, with free admission to “bouncy castle, arts and crafts, and much more” according to its booking ad.

The Halloween event, promoted as an afternoon of “spooky treats, wicked arts and crafts and monster face-painting” attracted several complaints to his office from parents, Lawlor said.

“One mother of two transition-year girls was particularly unhappy as she said they were asked to fill in a ‘personal development’ questionnaire about their well-being, ” Lawlor said.

“A number of other parents were uncomfortable that their children were given this questionnaire.

“There were a few children there with their parents, but it was well attended by teenagers from local schools aged between 14 and 17,” he said “Whatever social media the were using were very effective. “I’m very concerned about this pushing of a ‘community’ agenda locally. ” “To me, it’s propaganda at its worst” Lawlor visited the new centre recently with ten community leaders. He said they were told that around 200 staff working on a voluntary basis worked at the centre.

“Staff wore smart black suits with a gold pinstripe – it was like the Shelbourne [Hotel],” he said.

“We asked where the money was coming from, but they didn’t answer any questions.”

The community leaders met with an operations manager of the centre and a member of the church’s global operation.

A sports pitch at the centre has been offered for use by local sports teams and other facilities, such as the use of its large 1,000-seater auditorium and meeting rooms, have been offered for free for community and charity events and concerts.

The Scientology Centre for Interaction and Partnership, as it was described in a launch announcement, opened last month and emphasised that it would open its doors “to the communities of Dublin”. Protesters gathered outside to object.

The Firhouse centre is reported to have been acquired for around €6 million, while the national affairs office at Merrion Square was bought for around €2 million.

Church founder L Ron Hubbard lived in a house on Merrion Square in Dublin in 1956, and devised some of the early ideas around Scientology during that time.

https://www.businesspost.ie/news/church-scientology-claims-1200-attended-new-irish-centre-launch-400447

Mixed feelings about new Scientology centre – The Echo

Another issue raised by local residents in recent weeks is the promotion of the Church of Scientology and its programmes within communities – and if members would be ‘knocking on doors’.

When asked about this, The Echo was told that members do promote initiatives such as their youth-targeted Drug Free World programme – but members said that knocking on doors is “not what we do”.

However, on Tuesday leaflets were dropped into a number of homes across the area, a situation which the Church of Scientology said was “an error”, with a spokesperson adding that members “unreservedly apologise for any upset that may have occurred.

http://www.echo.ie/tallaght/article/mixed-feelings-about-new-scientology-centre