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
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.