Scientology Organisation ~ S.O. Ireland’s RTÉ Prime Time – “Scientology – The Return”

I am going to make a few comments about this documentary.  Why is the documentary not more dialogical?  The reason is simple when you make a documentary with Scientology it is a monologue. They view everyone as enemies and I know what this is like as on October 31, I brought a group of friends for lunch to their restaurant and Diane Stahl who features a lot in the statements given by the Scientology Organisation S.O. in the programme came up after we were about to take their tour and mentioned my name and then said you were telling lies about our church and asked us all to leave. It was an amazing experience for my friends who were very open to hearing the S.O. side of things. Most of us see the Scientology buildings from across a street and at a distance as they are not inviting places. I felt the use of aerial photography gave you a sense like being in an attack helicopter of the scope and scale of the Scientology project here in Ireland. It is massive overkill and to understand it you have to get inside the head of David Miscavige. Here it is about using the tax money to purchase trophy properties. It was Victory Church before the S.O. purchased it. It went bankrupt and the Scientologists bought it and are equally trying to use it to recruit.


There was no one in the building, and it is just a white elephant. It will be used to help the local community but in reality, it is just a total waste of space. There are no members as the programme showed. I had a small segment showing me commenting on Tom Cruise with Eamon Gilmore at Iveagh House where he was issued with a Certificate of Irish Heritage. My view is that Tom Cruise is a good friend of David Miscavige got him to buy into the idea that he was an Irish tourist Ambassador and the S.O. decided to place all their eggs in our basket. L.R Hubbard had always wanted to set up Scientology State. They decided to divert a lot of cash to try out that idea here. I believe this more than the current policy of opening Ideal Orgs all over the world. The location of so many Sea Org personnel here in Ireland suggests something different.

The results may not be very different namely empty buildings. The reason they can’t meet the public is there is no one in the buildings to engage with. They are declining numerically as they are growing financially due to their obtaining IRS status and as a result having a lot of cash. Their HQ is not a centre for dialogue as they are just too programmed to do this. They will not meet the media and try to stem the tide of negative views with PR consultants.

Pete  Griffith was very clear and I felt very persuasive in his presentation. The programme also outlined the very complex issue of the common assault on Zabrina Collins or should I say, Shortt?

Showing how Pete’s defamation case against her was taken off course. His apology was clear and distancing himself from that episode clears the decks for him to engage with Scientologists. It also shows humility and a willingness to show vulnerability. Unfortunately, the S.O seem unable to engage beyond attack as my expulsion from their restaurant showed.

You can see our coverage of Scientology here:

Ireland’s RTÉ Prime Time – “Scientology – The Return”

Report by Rita O’Reilly

Here is her blog piece published before the programme was aired last night.

Scientology has tried to make it big in Ireland before, but now it’s back with a multi-million euro investment in three new facilities – one around the corner from Government Buildings in Dublin’s Merrion Square, another in the suburb of Firhouse, and a third, through its affiliated Narconon group, in Ballivor, County Meath.

It’s an expensive return, but it’s not been a popular one, and indeed, it’s been marked by controversy.

What is it about Scientology? After all, it is tiny. Though it claims a membership of millions worldwide, the available evidence suggests tens of thousands. Here in Ireland, in the last census, just 87 people said they were Scientologists. The comparator often used is, ‘Well, how many people claim to be Jedi knights?’, and in Ireland’s census, there were 2,000.

Yet, its tiny membership has not deterred Scientology. It has said its investment has been funded by donors abroad. Its return is a big effort – aside from the new facilities, its spend is on outreach, with free events, Google and mobile ads, Promoted Tweets, mailshots, booklets, and leaflets through your door – all material printed at its own distribution works in Los Angeles.

Why Ireland? Well, contrary to reports, we’re nothing special. Since the start of last year, Scientology has opened over a dozen new buildings worldwide.

They follow a formula it keeps repeating: its leader, David Miscavige and committed members fly into the openings, which are staged events. Videos of those launches are then shown at annual internal gala events, where donor members are dazzled with special Scientology statistics promoting its claim of rapid expansion. Scientology calls additions like Firhouse, ‘Ideal Organisations’, and it says that Mr. Miscavige “personally supervises the selection of each new Ideal Org”.

The weekend after its Firhouse centre opened in October 2017, Scientology launched another building in Birmingham, and the weekend after that, in Amsterdam: three weekends in a row – all staged openings, off-limits to the general public.

The organisation already has a Brussels office and its European headquarters is in Copenhagen.

Journalist Tony Ortega, editor of the ‘The Underground Bunker’, has reported on Scientology for over two decades. He points out: “The new Ideal Org in Dublin is not a new European centre or headquarters, it has nothing to do with Brexit and it has nothing to do with taxes. The Church of Scientology is already tax exempt in the United States, it pays no taxes; it is not looking for new tax shelters.”

But its office in Merrion Square, opened in 2016, is one of only a few ‘National Affairs’ offices it has. “These are moves that reflect what David Miscavige has done in the United States”, Mr. Ortega says. “Several years ago, Miscavige refurbished a building in Washington DC for a new ‘national affairs office’. It was a new sort of idea for Scientology – they then extended that to Ireland. And why Merrion Square? Well, because it means a lot to Scientologists, that location because L Ron Hubbard himself had worked out of Merrion Square back in the 1950s.”

It was at the end of 1955, and Scientology’s creator, L Ron Hubbard was already a controversial figure. He had been refused a visa renewal to the UK, where he had a base, and he had temporarily moved to Ireland to what he called “the swankiest address in Dublin”, Merrion Square.

On 17 April 1956, while he was still based there, the Director of the FBI, J Edgar Hoover, noted that in divorce proceedings, Hubbard’s second wife, Sara Northrup, had described him as “hopelessly insane”. “His recent letters have been unanswered inasmuch as he is considered obviously a mental case”, Mr. Hoover wrote.

At the time, (20 April 1956) L Ron Hubbard was writing to his followers that his Merrion Square office was a “British fallback point in the event of an atomic attack”.

His stay was short-lived: he left within months. His organisation, Scientology, however, set up in Ireland from the 1980s.

Mike Garde of Dialogue Ireland has followed its arrival, decline and return since then. He says that though it is small, its impact can be devastating.

MG Prime Time

“I’ve been dealing with the families of people from Malin Head to Mizen Head in this country who have been affected by this Scientology organisation”, Mike Garde says, “breakup of marriages, the breakup of families – of one guy, he became addicted completely to alcohol, they tore him apart”.

It is that concern and concerns like it that led to tonight’s Prime Time: ‘Scientology – The Return’.…/2…/1218/1017981-scientology-the-return/

Here is the programme which is an icon in the story of Scientology in Ireland. It is the Late, Late Show of Feb 1995. It was mentioned on Prime Time


Rita O’Reilly – Reporter

Rita O'Reilly - Reporter

Rita O’Reilly is the reporter behind several Prime Time and Prime Time Investigates documentaries, amongst them, the highest ever rating Prime Time Investigates – Carry on Regardless, on Irish developers, and a report by Prime Time into the Stardust fire. Her work has helped contribute to political and legislative change. Her first programme, Prime Time Investigates internet child pornography, won TV Documentary of the Year (ESB National Media Awards, 2003). Her reporting on the recent documentary on suicides in the Irish army and anti-malarial drug Lariam won her Journalist of the Year at the Irish Medical  Media Awards (RTÉ Investigations Unit, 2013). A former press and court reporter who co-authored an award-winning bestseller on the Catherine Nevin murder trial. She is from Co. Galway.



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