Thursday 20 September 2018

Fears raised by silence surrounding Scientology rehab centre in Ballivor

Locals are suspicious of plans by 'cult' church for a drug rehab centre in a remote village in Meath, writes Maeve Sheehan

SECRETIVE: The Church of Scientology’s €6m HQ in Firhouse
SECRETIVE: The Church of Scientology’s €6m HQ in Firhouse
Maeve Sheehan

Maeve Sheehan

The usually secretive Church of Scientology claims to have opened its doors to Irish communities as it makes its presence felt in Ireland. It hosted a free Winter Wonderlands for kids at its €6m "Community Centre" at Firhouse and directs its "campaigns" to "share its ideals with the Irish people" from its "national affairs office" in a €2m Georgian building on Merrion Square, where visitors are welcome.

The silence around the Scientologists' latest suspected project - a drugs rehab centre in a rural Meath village - is deafening. Although Ballivor is only 42 kilometres from Dublin, it is in a remote part of the county. Fewer than 2,000 people live there. The only public transport is a bus which comes once in the morning and once in evening. The new national school is on the main street. There are plans for a playground beside it. The community centre is across the street, next to what was supposed to be a nursing home in the original parish school building. Locals believe it is soon to be the new home for Narconon, officially an international not-for-profit drug rehab organisation, but widely accepted as being funded and operated by Scientologists.

The programme is based on a regime of vitamins, intensive sauna and exercise and has been dismissed by HSE experts as being without medical basis.

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