lrish operation owes €1m after Covid hit turnover

MAEVE SHEEHAN

The Church of Scientology’s main Irish operation continues to repay loans of more than €1m to affiliate organizations overseas.

The company that runs the community centre in Firhouse, west Dublin, experienced a “substantial” drop in turnover last year as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, accounts filed last week show.

According to the figures, the Church of Scientology & Community Centre of Dublin Ltd recorded a deficit of €247,211 and the organization continues to receive financial support from “related parties”.

These consisted mainly of “loans extended to the company for set-up costs, mostly prior to opening in 2017″, the accounts state.

Nine Scientology entities overseas had loans of €1,058,895 outstanding from the Dublin centre. They included €459,055 owed to the Church of Scientology Flag Service Organisation — the Scientologists’ “spiritual headquarters” in Clearwater, Florida — and €436,637 to the Church of Scientology Religious Education College in the UK.

The accounts also recorded smaller sums owed to the Church of Scientology Los Angeles, Tampa, and Pacific Base.

The accounts recorded cash of €820,637, including a bank overdraft: €42,281. Services were run by 52 volunteers and the centre made surplus of just over €70,000.

A statement on behalf of the non-profit company said the surplus helped the Church & Community Centre improve its recorded deficit from the year before.

“In the midst of the pandemic, it is understandable that other Churches of Scientology around the world did not insist upon the Dublin branch meeting its obligations towards them falling due within the financial year, which is what their stated financial support’ during 2020 consisted of,” a statement said.

The community centre in Firhouse opened in 2017 as a “community hub’, but attracted criticism. Micheal Martin, now Taoiseach said at the time he was “very concerned” that “these types of groups can be very damaging to people, particularly to young people”.
A statement from the Dublin Scientology Centre said it was established as a “hub for local activities and events, to serve as a home for the entire community and a meeting ground for cooperative efforts”.
Its work featured on a show on the Scientology TV channel streamed from Los Angeles, according to the statement.

“In the past four years we have held hundreds of events serving tens of thousands from our community and look forward to the years ahead,” it said.

The Church of Scientology’s other investments in Ireland in recent years includes an office on Dublin’s Merrion Square.

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