This section is a collection of media articles, historical documents and other references detailing the activities of the Scientology organisation in Ireland over the years. Where possible we provide links to scans, text and videos of the relevant source materials that we used to construct this timeline.
Founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard, opens an office in 69 Merrion Square Dublin. Hubbard also announces his plan to establish the HASUK Atomic Energy Healing Division Emergency Station in Dublin to act as a fall back for his British operations should atomic warfare break out. Ireland, according to Hubbard, was unlikely to be bombed and was thus a suitable location.
The following extract is from Russel Miller’s book ‘Bare Faced Messiah’:
At the end of March 1956, Ray Kemp accompanied Hubbard on a trip to Dublin. ‘He wanted to see if there was something he could do for Ireland,’ Kemp explained. ‘He felt that Ireland’s troubles were based on the fact that it was a bit like a Third World nation and had never been able to apply the skills of its people. We were there for two or three days and he spent the whole time talking to people. We’d be walking down the street and all of a sudden he wasn’t there. I’d look back and see him deep in conversation with someone, asking them if they had a job, what their skills were, things like that. Believe it or not, he’d actually run a little process on them there and then and they’d feel better and he’d walk away. His idea was to open a Personal Efficiency Foundation in Dublin to teach people how to apply whatever skills they had got, but I don’t think anything ever came of it.’
Hubbard established a ‘Personal Efficiency Center’ in Dublin. Anthony Phillips describes his time working there on his website:
I WAS DR. PHILLIPS Director of the American College of Personal Efficiency in Dublin, Ireland, from March 1957 to September 1957.
I did not know anything of the details of Ron setting up what was called “the Dublin operation”, which in itself was unusual for that time, as there were only two, relatively large, Scientology Orgs (London and Washington DC) plus something in Berlin and Paris which appeared as though they were more like field auditors who had gotten their names on the lists of official organisations because of being in important towns in continental Europe. I was told that Dublin had 25% unemployment. I knew (and know) nothing about how Ron had started the operation or who had been helping. I knew that there had been an HPA (professional auditor course) while he was there, and from that there were two graduates outside the org, Bernie Green and Gerry Boland (with perhaps their wives, and in the org were Nuala Cowley, who was registrar in the evenings, and Bernard Duffey, who was evening Advanced course instructor. That was about all I knew of what Ron had started, described with enthusiasm in his PAB and lecture.
What I inherited was an organisation in debt, owing money for classified advertisements in both newspapers, a system of putting in classified advertisements in one paper, which we paid cash for (which got a few people onto the free course) and a system where we recruited nurses for a Chicago hospital, and possibly got some commission out of that.
Bernie Green, who served as the Irish correspondent for the Scientology publication Ability Magazine, describes his work with Hubbard in a 1974 New York Magazine article:
In 1958, Green met L. Ron Hubbard and helped him found a school of scientology in Dublin. Things soured when Hubbard ran up bills, Green said “He only smoked Kools and imported them from America at $3 a pack. He brought his Jaguar from London and rented an expensive house on Dublin Bay. He bought $5,000 worth of camera equipment. He bled us white, and left me holding the bag.
Despite his initial experience, Green rejoined the Scientology fold in 1966 and came to New York in 1967 to open a center. He soon broke away.
“I refused to bow to their fascistic demands, I refused to turn the center into a church, which was just a tax dodge. Now I’m their public enemy number one.” Dr. Green opened up his own International Awareness Center and set up a private practice.
He is what scientologists call a “squirrel,” someone who has studied their methods and then strikes out on his own, a Hubbardite schismatic.
There is evidence that Hubbard moved back to Ireland in the 1970’s. When his son Quentin died in 1976, Hubbard was listed as the next of kin with the address of “Ireland”. Further evidence comes from a 1976 article in the Cork Examiner:
“Mr. Hubbard is expected to visit Cork this week and view the prospective property where he hopes to live with his wife and family. He is staying in the Dublin area with some friends at the moment.”
Since the 1950’s Ireland did not have an active Scientology organisation presence until 1987, when the Mission of Dublin was founded. The following extract from a 1988 article in The Star gives the details (and doesn’t hold back):
The Church of Scientology has set up shop in the heart of downtown Dublin.
A mind-bending cult based on science fiction, it has been described as “corrupt, immoral and dangerous” by a British High Court Judge.
In 1984, the Church of Scientology announced it was to open a centre in Ireland and claimed to have more than 1,000 members here. They opened the centre just before last Christmas.
This decade featured two exposés of the Scientology organisation on national television.
The first exposé took place in 1995 on the Late Late Show. It featured Peter Mansell and Gerard Ryan representing the Scientology organisation, while PJ Phelan and Mary Johnson gave the counterview.
PJ described the impact that Scientology has had on his family, and how his brother Tony has become almost a stranger in his life. Mary described her experiences within the organisation, and in particular how she was coached to ‘handle’ her own family.
The second exposé was broadcast in 1997 on RTE Primetime, and featured the case of Odhran Fortune and the impact that Scientology has had on the Fortune family.
As of 2012 Odhran remains within the organisation, although he does continue to have contact with his family.
The most notable event in the early 2000’s was the court case featuring Mary Johnson. Mary, who featured in the Late Late Show episode discussed previously, took a court case against the Scientology organisation over her involvement. While the settlement amount was not disclosed, the annual returns for the Scientology mission in Dublin started to show a debt of hundreds of thousands of euro. The case was featured heavily in the Irish media.
The next chapter in the history of the Scientology organisation in Ireland will take place on June 30th – where for the first time Irish ex-members and family affected by the organisation will collectively present their experiences to the attending media.