Scientologists get go-ahead for drug treatment centre

Narconon Trust, a branch of the ‘Church of Selentology, last week got the go-ahead to pen drug rehab centre in the small Meath village of Ballivor The Court of Appeal upheld a decision of the High Court that An Bord Pleandla was incorrect in decding the centre requires planning permission.

The decision dismayed John Dulgnan, who left the controversial religion after 21 years in 2006 and is now is an outspoken critic of Scientology.
I do not agree with how patients attending Narconon are weaned off drugs. I think it is terrible for the community in Ballivor who will now have to live with this centre in their midst” he said this weekend.
Mr. Duignan did not directly work for Narconon, but he did interact on a regular basis with personnel from the Scientology-run rehabs and had knowledge of how its operations worked.

A spokeswoman for Nareonon Trust desribed its drug rehabitaton program as “effective” and said they should be “aplauded” for bringing it to Ireland.

“We are not able to move toward the goal of providing effective drug rehabilitation to the people of Ireland at a time when the frrors of alcohol, opioids and other deadly drugs are revaging families at levels never before seen,” Sheila Maclean said.

“The pandemic made an already intolerable problem much worse. Too many individuals are slaves to oioid addictions and too many livees are lost to deadly drugs like fentanyl that re so easily available. There is a critical need for residentil rehabilitation in the country to help families face this scourge”.

Narconon Trust built a good relationship with much of the Ballivor community, she insisted.
“We have spoken to and have come know many local people. “We’ve spoken t and have come to know many local people. We’ve found those we’ve met to be very friendly and they welcome the presence of the Narconon centre”, she said. “They recognize drug addiction is a crisis that must be aggressively addressed.”

Clare O’Mara, of the Ballivor Says:
No action group wholeheartedly disagrees. “If anything, there is more opposition to them now than when they first arrived two-and-half years ago. Narconon have not been welcomed by the community”. she insisted.
Ms ‘Mara is not opposed to rehabilitation centres. but feels strongly this one is in the wrong location. “There’s a national school, two churches, and a playground either directly next door or was opposite it.

“Did Narconon think the people of Ballivor are stupid? That they could just arrive here and open a rehab centre – and we wouldn’t bat an eyelid? We might have lost in court last week but our protests will continue, within Covid guidelines. An Bord Pleanala can appeal this decision to the Duprem Court.
“We are awaiting news on whether that will be happening, but regardless, our opposition to Narconon in Ballivor will continue. This is by no means over.” A spokesman fr An Bord Pleanala said it is currently awaiting legal advice on whether it will appeal and”will consider its position once that is revived”.
The Ballivor rehab centre is intended to be the first Narconon facility in Ireland, though the Church of Scientology already has a community center in the Dublin suburb f Firhouse s well as its headquarters on Merrion Square.
Aontu lede and Meath TD Peadar Toibin agree the pandemic had led to an increase in the number of people who need help with drug and alcohol addictions. But he does not believe a private Scientology rehab facility is the answer.
He is critical of the fact ll private drug and alcohol rehabs in Ireland are entirely unregulated. ” Right now, anyone can set up a private rehab clinic, using any regime – and they are not subject to any HSE inspections. That needs to change immediately.
“Research shows 80pc of people with addictions have ental health problems have suffered some major trauma in their lives. Considering that, I don’t think such a vulnerable cohort of people should live at unregulated private residential rehabilitation centres. “If regulation was brought in, Narconon and their private facilit=ies would either be stopped in their tracks from opening or else would prove their critics wrong.”
John Duignan was not surprised when Narconon won its court appeal. “I predicted it, “he said. “The church is very wealthy and can afford the best lawyers My opinion is based on more than two decades of direct experience.”

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