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Dublin: 3°C Thursday 20 January 2022

'We need spotlight on this site': Protestors to set up outside Dublin Scientology centre today

One ex-Scientologist from Mayo wants to warn others: “I got so angry that I burned any Scientology stuff I had in bonfire.”

The Victory Centre in Firhouse.
The Victory Centre in Firhouse.
Image: TheJournal.ie

THE NEW SCIENTOLOGY centre in south Dublin is to open today but is expected to face a backlash from protesters who don’t want the group to set up a large base in the capital.

Earlier this year, TheJournal.ie revealed that the Victory Centre in Firhouse was to become Scientology’s European base after it was bought by the international group last year.

The church has already had two small hubs operating in Dublin city centre for a number of years. However, their opening of a site which can house thousands of people has irked a number of former members of the group.

There has been a large increase in the level of security outside the church’s National Affairs Office in the last 48 hours, located on Merrion Street in Dublin.

It is expected that some of the church’s leading members, including its current leader David Miscavige, will be attending the official opening today.

A number of Scientologists have been in the Firhouse area for a number of days, many telling locals of the centre’s grand unveiling. They have also been visiting local pubs and leaving literature for locals to read.

However, protesters have been doing their own promotion, going door to door with leaflets explaining why they are against the centre opening.

John McGhee has been protesting against Scientology since 2010 – less than a year after he left the organisation he had been a part of since 2005.

I lost €10,000 to ‘audits’

During this time he spent over €10,000 on participating in ‘audits’ – Scientology’s version of counselling.

I was relatively lucky to come out with only losing a little over €10,000. I personally know people who have remortgaged their homes trying to get to the next level. I want to bring awareness to people about Scientology. I’ve been there and I want to warn people against it.

McGhee and a number of activists have already protested at the Firhouse site already.

“Security knows who I am. I’ve been a regular protester. I’ve been speaking out against them for years,” McGhee added.

Fiona O’Leary has been outspoken about the church for a number of years and will be one of the first to arrive at the centre for the protest this afternoon.

She said: “I’ve been writing about Scientology for a while. John McGhee with myself and a few others wanted to build a movement. We want to start a conversation with politicians.

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“We know there is going to be a lot of people at the centre over the next few days. There needs to be more attention on this site.”

Hundreds of new recruits are expected to join up to the group in the coming weeks. However, last year just 87 people declared that they were Scientologists on the national census.

‘The sense of betrayal is just incredible’

Pete Griffiths, an ex-Scientologist from Mayo, was a member of the organisation for nearly 20 years before he left.

He explained: “From 1987 to 2008 the thought control was all in place. Then a lengthy unravelling process began. I got so angry that I burned any Scientology stuff I had lying around in a bonfire. I couldn’t look at it any more. The sense of betrayal is just incredible. The clues are all there, but you don’t see them.”

The protest begins at 2.30pm at the Victory Centre site in Firhouse.

Scientology Ireland has been contacted for comment.

Earlier this week: Senior Nation of Islam minister helps launch ‘Scientology in Ireland’ >

Read: Scientologists ‘from across the world’ to flock to south Dublin centre to finish ‘massive project’ >

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