Wednesday 18 September 2019

Scientologist's trust challenges ruling for rehab centre plan

The case comes back before the court in March. Stock Image
The case comes back before the court in March. Stock Image

Tim Healy

A High Court challenge has been brought over a proposed €9m drug rehabilitation centre linked to the Church of Scientology.

It arises out of An Bord Pleanála's finding last November that a change of use of a building in Co Meath from nursing home to a residential drug rehabilitation facility requires planning permission.

In 2014, permission for a nursing home was granted for the Old National School in Ballivor although it was not built. The site was acquired by Narconon Trust, which is linked to the Church of Scientology.

The trust was founded by Massimo Angius, who has been a director of the Church of Scientology for more than 20 years. The trust plans to open a residential drug rehabilitation facility on the site in the coming months.

It bought the site after it secured a declaration from Meath County Council in 2016 that the proposed change of use is exempted development and did not require a fresh planning application.

The trust provides drug prevention and residential rehab programmes around the world and has already spent €9m on purchasing and constructing the Ballivor facility.

The county council, the Ballivor Community Group and Trim Municipal District are notice parties to the proceedings. The case comes back before the court in March.

Irish Independent

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