Shane Cassells, TD for Meath West: “Taoiseach, the program for government committed you to a new national drug strategy, which you launched last summer, and you said at the launch that the treatment of abuse as a public health issue rather than a criminal justice issue, and I quote, “helps communities”. Taoiseach, can I ask you whether the small rural community of Ballivor in County Meath will be helped by the attempt from the Church of Scientology trying to establish a Narconon drug program in their tiny village in an old national school, and furthermore, whether this cult’s wacky drug rehab program is legally permitted to operate in this state, and whether you, Taoiseach, would like to send a message, both as Taoiseach and as a doctor, of support to the concerned parents who would protest outside to school tomorrow at 2:00 p.m., petrified for the safety of their children in the town of Ballivor?”
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: “I read a little about this in the papers, but I don’t have, I don’t know all the details or all the facts but I would certainly be absolutely of the view that the only people who provide services with respect to addiction should be people who are appropriately qualified and appropriately licensed to do so. On occasion, those services can be provided by religious groups, I know a number of Catholic religious groups that provide alcohol counseling services and and do so and do so very well, but no matter what background they’re coming from, I think it’s absolutely essential that these should only be provided by people who are qualified and legally permission to do so.”
Thomas Byrne, TD for Meath East: “It is not a religion but a scam.”
Shane Cassells: “Is the programme legally permitted?”
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: “No matter from what background they come, it is essential that such services only be provided by those who are qualified and legally permitted to provide them.”
Cassells raises concern over phony Scientology rehab centre planned for Ballivor
Fianna Fáil TD Shane Cassells has asked the Taoiseach to provide reassurance that an organisation closely linked with the secretive cult-like Church of Scientology will not be facilitated in setting up operations in a rural village in Meath.
Deputy Cassells made comments after raising the issue directly with An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Dáil Éireann earlier today.
Deputy Cassells said, “Narconon, which is indistinguishable from the Church of Scientology, is attempting to setup operations in Ballivor under the guise of a drugs rehabilitation project. The so called rehabilitation programmes run by the Church of Scientology and its affiliated organisations have been widely discredited. They are used as a front to indoctrinate vulnerable people, usually young men, into following the whacky teachings of the self-labelled ‘Church’.
“The people of Ballivor don’t want anything to do with Narconon or the shady organisation that backs them. I raised this issue in the Dáil with the Taoiseach earlier today and sought reassurance that the Government will support the local community. I was encouraged by the Taoiseach’s reply that those offering drugs rehabilitation services must be medically trained and have relevant clinical experience. This is a view that I support.
“The Church of Scientology have been attempting to intensify their operations in Ireland. This is a shady cult which has been involved in numerous scandals, including one of the largest infiltrations of the United States Government with the aim of purging unfavourable records relating to the organisation. Many former members of the organisation have spoken out about it’s cult-like activities and how they were viciously targeted by operatives linked to the Church following their departure.
“We do not want the Church of Scientology, or any front organisation linked to it, operating in our community. I’m calling on people to come out and support the protest due to be held in Ballivor tomorrow afternoon,” concluded Deputy Cassells.