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Friday 20 July 2018

'It was outrageous and inappropriate' - Church of Scientology 'offering free massages' at Dublin Marathon Expo

The Church of Scientology offering massages
The Church of Scientology offering massages

Mary McDonnell

Dublin Marathon runners have criticised the “outrageous” placement of a Church of Scientology stand at the SSE Airtricity Dublin Marathon Expo in the RDS.

The three-day expo hosts registration for competitors gearing up for Sunday’s race and gives businesses the opportunity to exhibit their products and services.

A Louth man (38), who didn't wish to be named, said he was collecting his race pack for Sunday when he spotted Scientology volunteers offering massages and handing out Church literature to attendees.

He told Independent.ie: “I was surprised when I saw a stand all in yellow and a guy was giving a massage wearing a Scientology Volunteer Minister t-shirt.

“I thought it was very inappropriate for an outdoor event like a marathon. I’ve been around the world running in marathons and I’ve never seen this. It was kind of bizarre.”

The participant said questions need to be asked about why the Church was given clearance to exhibit alongside brands such as Skechers, Asics and Naked Juice.

He said: “Why are they doing this? What’s the motive? Who are they targeting? Are they getting conversions?

“I don’t think the penny was even dropping (with attendees). They were just getting massages. This is outrageous. If it was another religion it would still be inappropriate but it’s not even a religion, it’s a cult.

"I was wondering why they were targeting this profile of people: people who are training. There might be that yuppie element as well.”

He said volunteers were handing out booklets titled: ‘From the Scientology Handbook: Tools for the Workplace from L. Ron Hubbard;’ The Cause of Suppression’ and ‘Scientology makes the world a better place’.

A social media user also posted images of the stand on Twitter captioning it as "#Creepy".

Independent.ie made numerous attempts to contact the Church of Scientology for comment but received no reply.

In a statement the Dublin Marathon said:

"The Dublin Marathon Expo is organised by a third party MPM. MPM have a open and inclusive policy for accepting bookings.

"They would only refuse a booking if they felt it would case grave offence. They also stated that people have a choice as to whether they visit the stand."

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