Monday 16 September 2019

'These places are pumped with money' - Church of Scientology hosts free 'kid-friendly' Hallowe'en event

The Church of Scientology building in Los Angeles (Stock picture)
The Church of Scientology building in Los Angeles (Stock picture)

Mary McDonnell

The Church of Scientology opened their doors to the public yesterday to host a 'kid-friendly' Hallowe'en event.

Volunteers at the centre in Firhouse, Tallaght said the event was not held to sign up new members.

They said the church wants locals to avail of their building like any other community centre in the area.

Most families were focused on Hallowe'en fun yesterday but some parents walked around the entrance hall, observing Scientology materials with curiosity.

At the event, children were able to get their faces painted and photos taken in a photo booth, while a large, brown, inflatable cross topped a bouncy castle outside the church’s centre.

Two young mothers from the area said they would happily attend events at the centre if they could do so without joining the church.

A 29-year-old mother-of-two, who did not wish to be named, told; "I'm not religious. We came because it was free, we knew these places are pumped with money. It's great for Hallowe'en.

"If you go to a different area, like Tallaght or something, you won't get the same. It doesn't bother me, once [the kids] are happy.

"I don’t know what [Scientologists] believe in. We’re not signing up."

Her friend, a 27-year-old mother-of-one, added; "There’s nothing wrong with anyone having beliefs as long as they're not jamming it down your necks."

Both women said it was a "fun day" and church volunteers did not approach families about joining unless they were approached first.

The volunteers wore their standard uniform of black suit pants, white shirt and gold-backed waistcoat.

Fine Gael councillor Brian Lawlor said he is still concerned about the organisation's presence in the area.

"They just want to get numbers in," he said.

"They make their money on getting people on these training programmes and they charge a substantial amount.

"They’re the sort of organisation that will adapt. That’s a concern for me and for the greater Tallaght, Knocklyone, Templeogue areas.

"I am concerned about it to be honest. It’s a wait and see for me."

He added, however, that "adults have to be adults".

"It’s their own thing [if they join]," he said.

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