Former Scientologist says church is only after members' money

A former member of the controversial Church of Scientology has blasted the sect ahead of the opening of its new headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, this month, saying it was only after the money of its congregants who got nothing in return.

(REUTERS / Mike Blake)A Scientology building is shown along Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California February 22, 2012.

Speaking to The Irish Sun in an interview, former Church of Scientology member John McGhee said the opening of the new European headquarters at the Victory Centre in Firhouse was financially motivated. The new site, which was bought for 6 million euros last year, had an auditorium which could hold 1,300 people.

"Although I was with them for two-and-a-half or three years, I was on their books for about six," McGhee told The Sun. "They seek money from members. You pay to join and then you pay some more. I got nothing back."

In addition, McGhee said the Church of Scientology does not tell people what it actually does but only asks for donations. It is worth noting that the church has put up a new website called Ideal Ireland.org which revealed little information about the organization.

"They're looking for money. There's only about 50 registered scientologists in Ireland so this is a huge centre for them to open," McGhee added. "They're supposed to be bringing people over from all over the world to work in this place."

The Church of Scientology currently has 100 slots for its Adventurers Club, and those who want to join have to pay 1,000 euros. McGhee said 28 slots have already been filled, and those who want to become a Silver member have to cough up 2,500 euros, while those who want a Gold membership will have to pay 5,000 euros.

In July, local Fine Gael Councilor Brian Lawlor spoke to The Journal and expressed his disappointment over the upcoming entry of Scientologist into Firhouse. He said his dismay did not stem from the people who were coming in, but from what he perceived as a "missed opportunity" for their community to expand education.

Lawlor said the site could have been turned into a school, as the demand for education in the said area was quite high. He added that they suggested this several times to the Department of Education but their ideas were turned down.