THE UNIFICATION Church founded by the Rev Sun Myung Moon enjoyed some years of growth in Ireland in the 1970s but now has no more than “about 40-50 members” here, said campaign group Dialogue Ireland.

Mike Garde, director of the group which monitors the activities of religious cults, has been a long- time critic of the “Moonies”.

A major turning point for the church in Ireland, he says, was in 1981 when Donegal schoolteacher Mary Canning testified about the organisation’s questionable recruitment practices.

She was “rescued” and “deprogrammed” after spending two months in the church in San Francisco. Publicity about the case caused then government minister Paddy Harte to describe the organisation as “sinister” and “evil”.

Moon occasionally monitored Irish affairs and in 1997 invited former taoiseach Albert Reynolds to be keynote speaker at a “peace” conference organised by the church in Washington. Reynolds, who stressed he was not endorsing the church by attending, spoke about his role in the Northern Ireland peace process and told his audience “a happy family makes a happy nation”.

In 2005, Moon visited Dublin for an event dubbed as a regional summit for the church, drawing a large number of members from Britain.

The Unification Church maintains an office at 19 North Great George’s Street. Italian native Bruno Miresse is national director of the church in Ireland.

“There are around 50 members in Ireland but it is hard to put a definite number as many of them travel around the world to do work for the church,” he says. The Unification Church in Ireland will hold a service of some kind to mark the passing of Sun Myung Moon.

Mr Miresse adds that the term “Moonie” is a derogatory term used to describe members of the church. “It was a term coined 20 years ago in the US to hint that we are strange or some kind of sect or movement. We would prefer if people did not use the word to describe us. We have respect for other religions and beliefs of other people so we expect the same from others.”

3 Responses

  1. Comment from Sockpuppet from House of Prayer has been moved to https://dialogueireland.wordpress.com/commenting-policy

    We note with interest that after a period of prolonged attacks they vacated this site, however, this crude and misguided person is back with irrelevant comments about Masons. We note that they have not furnished us with the recording they claimed contradicted our testimony in Thurles


  2. Eleanor O’Rahilly
    Have replied to you by email
    DI Moderation


  3. To Mike Garde, My name is Eleanor and I’ve been a member of the Unification Church in Ireland for more than 30 years I need to relate my story to someone who will listen and understand the experiences I’ve had while I was a member there most of my experiences have been traumatizing and no one in the U.Church will listen to my story or take responsibility for the trauma I have endured for years, I would like to have the opportunity to talk to someone about my experience and see if at some stage I might be able to put closure on my experience there. I sincerely hope that you will reply to my message, thank you for reading it, Eleanor O’Rahilly


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