Christina Gallagher’s vision raised €1.6m profits for Mayo retreat centre by Sarah Mac Donald, Irish Independent, 27/10/2014

http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/news/christina-gallaghers-vision-raised-16m-profits-for-mayo-retreat-centre-30695079.html

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 The controversial House of Prayer at Achill Island, in Co Mayo, was founded by self-proclaimed visionary Christina Gallagher in 1993.

Accounts filed for the religious retreat centre show it recorded a profit of €13,192 in 2012 following a loss of €45,453 in 2011.

At the end of 2012, the centre was sitting on accumulated profits of €1.66m.

Relatives of members and ex-devotees of the House of Prayer claim its messages are apocalyptic, predicting violent chastisements for the world.

They claim the House of Prayer copies Catholic practices such as prayer, fasting and almsgiving to give the impression of an allegiance with the Catholic Church.

The House of Prayer is located within the jurisdiction of the Archdiocese of Tuam.

Archbishop Michael Neary, in February 2008, stated it “has no Church approval and the work does not enjoy the confidence of the diocesan authorities”.

Spokesman for Dr Neary, Fr Fintan Monaghan told the Irish Independent: “The archbishop’s stance remains the same.”

Fr Monaghan added: “We have been alerting people to this stance from 1997 onwards.”

Supervision

Critics also accuse Ms Gallagher of not operating the House of Prayer under the terms originally agreed with Archbishop Joseph Cassidy of Tuam, when it first opened in 1993 and resisting all attempts by the Archdiocese of Tuam to place it under its supervision.

A Committee of Inquiry was set up by Dr Neary in 1996 to investigate the House of Prayer.

In a public statement in December 1997, Dr Neary said: “No evidence has been presented which might prove beyond reasonable doubt the occurrence of supernatural phenomena”. In 1998, Dr Neary requested “detailed accounts” concerning any monies willed or otherwise donated since the House of Prayer opened.

The Revenue Commissioners removed the House of Prayer’s charitable status in 2006.

In 1998, Dr Neary announced that the celebration of the sacraments and reservation of the Blessed Sacrament at the House of Prayer would no longer be permitted.

He also said at this time that the House of Prayer did not enjoy the confidence of the Diocesan authorities.

It has been suggested that the numbers attending the House of Prayer have dropped significantly in recent years, since media reports revealed details of Christina Gallagher’s properties.

This has included a portfolio of luxurious houses in places like Malahide, City West, Newport, Ballina, Knockmore and on the Sligo Road to Enniscrone, as well as houses in the US, totalling millions of euro.

Ms Gallagher was approached by the Irish Independent this week, but she refused to comment.

Irish Independent

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