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Church of Scientology may open 1,300-seater community centre in south Dublin

Local councillor believes an opportunity was missed to instead house a school on the site.

The land has already been zoned for 'worship' and will need no additional permissions from the council.
The land has already been zoned for 'worship' and will need no additional permissions from the council.
Image: TheJournal.ie
Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

THE CHURCH OF Scientology is expected to open a European base in south Dublin after spending money to refurbish a state-of-the-art community centre in Firhouse.

TheJournal.ie has learned that the movement is investing here by buying fittings for the Victory Centre –  a large community centre and church which was at one time owned by the Victory Christian Fellowship.

A document seen by this publication shows that the Church of Scientology in the United States has paid for equipment to be sent to the Church of Scientology International (CSI) – crucially its address is listed as being on the Firhouse Road, Dublin 24. The full address reads:

CSI Ireland Community Center, Firhouse Road, Tymon South, Dublin 24.

The company they have used to ship the supplies list the following achievements on their website: “Since inception, HPC has purchased over $150 million of furniture, fixtures and equipment for projects ranging from the 5-star Newstead Belmont Hills Golf Resort and Spa in Hamilton, Bermuda to developing a comprehensive program for the Church of Scientology’s 155 buildings on 6 continents.”

Local Fine Gael councillor Brian Lawlor told TheJournal.ie that he has heard from a number of sources that the centre is to open. Currently, the only Church of Scientology International centre is located in Los Angeles and is described by the movement as the worldwide HQ and “the mother church of the Scientology religion”.According to the movement’s website:

Church of Scientology International (CSI), the mother church of the Scientology religion, is headquartered in Los Angeles, California. CSI oversees the ecclesiastical activities of all Scientology Churches, organizations and groups the world over and ensures that individual Churches receive guidance in their ministries. CSI also provides the broad planning and direction needed to support the Church’s international growth.

Sources have stressed that this does not mean that Scientology’s worldwide headquarters are being moved from LA to Firhouse. However, they did say that the group could use it as a European base. Last year, the centre sold for around €6 million, €12 million less than what it was valued at seven years ago. It also has a number of large meeting rooms and a designated place of worship which can hold over 1,200 people.

The church’s registered company here, which does not have religious or charitable status, recorded a profit of €48,803 in Ireland last year. The land in Firhouse is zoned by the council to be used as a place of worship. This means the Church of Scientology would not have to register any other interest with the council before building commenced on the site last year.

The land has not to be registered with the authorities and attempts to obtain information regarding the deeds proved unsuccessful. This week, we observed building work continuing on the site. Asked if they could comment on the new owners of the site, the builders said they could not. Sources have told this publication that the centre has the ability to host over 1,200 people for seminars and other church business.

2017-07-11-PHOTO-00000002 Invoice obtained by TheJournal.ie which shows the US Church of Scientology paying for fixtures. Source: TheJournal.ie

To view a higher-res image of this document, click here.

victory centre A Facebook photograph of the centre when it was run by a Christian group. Source: Facebook/Victory Centre

The Church of Scientology in Ireland currently operates out of two small hubs, both based in Dublin city centre. Last year, it set up a new National Affairs Office on Merrion Square in Dublin. According to its website, the office was established to “assist in meeting both physical and spiritual needs, and in addressing social ills from drugs to poverty to homelessness”.

Speaking at the opening of the centre, current leader of the Church, David Miscavige, said: “By opening the doors of the Church of Scientology National Affairs Office for Ireland, we are continuing in the tradition of our Founder L Ron Hubbard who himself held an office at 69 Merrion Square.

“And we do so with the intent to offer our humanitarian initiatives to all in honour of our founder and the aims of Scientology — a civilisation without insanity, without criminals and without war, where the able can prosper and honest beings can have rights, and where man is free to rise to greater heights.”

IMG_0320 Ongoing building works can be seen at the entrance to the centre. Source: TheJournal.ie

The group has been contacted by TheJournal.ie for comment but none has been provided. Councillor Brian Lawlor met with us outside the centre this week and said that he had made representations to the council over the site.

He told TheJournal.ie: “I know for definite that the Scientologists are coming into Firhouse. It’s very disappointing. Not because of who is moving in but it’s a missed opportunity for the community. It’s a remarkable site and it could have easily been transformed into a school. There is a large demand for a new school in this area. We made a number of representations to the Department of Education about this but were knocked back.

“Now the Church of Scientology has it. I have to say it’s a bad move not to have taken advantage of the site. This is very short-sighted.”

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