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.