Campaigners ‘sick to the stomach’ at GAA club facilitating Scientology centre
Ballivor GFC in Co Meath votes to share facilities with builders of Narconon centre
The abandoned national school in Ballivor, Co Meath. The Narconon Trust, which is linked to the Church of Scientology, is looking to develop the building into a drug rehabilitation centre. Photograph: Seamus Farrelly
A Meath GAA club has been criticised for voting to accept a proposal - worth up to €20,000 - to share its carpark with builders on a controversial new Church of Scientology- linked rehabilitation centre.
Members of Ballivor GFC voted 24 to 10 in favour of accepting the proposals at an extraordinary general meeting on Saturday.
The deal is from builders on site at the new drug treatment centre, which will be run by Narconon - the group linked with the Church of Scientology.
The offer consists of construction goods worth up to €20,000 including sewage pipes and a shed which could be used as a club house on Ballivor’s new grounds.
In return, the club would allow the use of its carpark to builders for 30 cars until the end of November, while work continues on the controversial development
The EGM was called to debate these revised proposals after an earlier offer of between €8,000-10,000 was refused by the club’s executive committee.
However the proposals are far from being signed and sealed, according to a source within the club. “The club has attached certain conditions which must be accepted by the builder before anything goes ahead,” he said.
“These would include that the cars are not allowed to park there at weekends or when training is on. They also cannot hinder the pick-up and put-down areas used by parents when school starts again.
“We will also have to ask the county board to indemnify the insurance for the extra cars, before anything goes ahead.
“This deal is basically a general wish list of everything we need at our new grounds. It will fast forward the club’s plans by five years.
“We have a sports grant and permission for a new astro turf pitch but have nowhere for the children to go to the toilet or wash their hands.
“The deal is being made with the builder and is only for three months - on a development that is going to continue anyway.
“I think it’s one of those things that we’re going to be damned if we do and damned if we don’t.”
However, the offer has left members of the Ballivor Says No group - who have been battling to keep Scientology-linked group Narconon out of the village - “very saddened”.
“The Ballivor Says No group has put blood, sweat and tears into trying to stop the Church of Scientology coming into the village and now the club, which is such a big part of the community, has turned its back on us,” said group member Claire O’Mara.
“It feels like they are sticking two fingers up to us.
“I’m very saddened, very disheartened and am sick to the stomach over the this. “ She said “the GAA has enough money” and didn’t need this.
“The club are saying that it’s the builder who is making the deal but sure he’s only the middle man - he’s getting the money from the Church of Scientology.
Ballivor GFC declined to comment on the matter but said they would be issuing a statement later. The building company were closed for comment.