By Louise Walsh
Narconon has confirmed its plans for a controversial drug rehabilitation centre in Meath and has contacted a number of local politicians to seek a meeting to address any 'misinformation'.
The off-shoot group of the Church of Scientology, which has to date never confirmed its role in the purchase of a former school in Ballivor, has emailed politicians through a Dublin PR group.
The email, which has also been sent to the Ballivor Community Council says it wants to address 'a lot of misinformation circulating about the Narconon programme and its plans'.
It says it's 'willing' to answer any questions on themselves or their plans.
It also confirms that Narconon has bought a premises in the village and their 'wish' to open a drug rehabilitation facility under the Narconon name.'
Narconon says it wants to meet all interested people to tell them about their plans including the 'benefits to the community' and offer them a chance to meet former drug addicts who have completed the programme.
The email says: "I am writing to you on behalf of Narconon who you might know has purchased a premises in Ballivor and wish to open a drug rehabilitation facility under the Narconon name.
"As you may be aware there is a lot of mis information circulating about the Narconon programme and its plans and we now want to give everyone and anyone who is interested, an opportunity to brief them and have them ask whatever questions they wish of us.
"As a courtesy we first contacted the Ballivor Community Council yesterday and are awaiting a date and time from them to let us know when we might be able to meet with them – hopefully over the next few days.
"We would like to offer you an opportunity, at a venue, date and time of your convenience to hear from us about Narconon, what they do, what the plans are for the premises in Ballivor including the potential benefits to the community and also to talk to a couple of former drug addicts who have successfully gone through the programme.
"We want to give you a full brief on the proposed premises and we are open and are willing to answer any and all questions that you or your constituents may have."
However, Meath Sinn Féin TD Peadar Tóibín, who was one of the TDs to receive the email, said he will not be meeting with the group without the wishes of the Ballivor locality.
He added that he intends to introduce a Dáil bill to regulate the whole sector and stop 'rogue operators from functioning.'
He said: "After a blinding absence of consultation the Church of Scientology are now looking to employ a publicity form to convince locals and elected reps alike.
"The key points in all of this is that this service is completely unregulated, that the state itself has stated that there is no evidence as to the efficacy of the service.
"There is widespread worries in the community as to the dangers of this service and its effect on the community.
"I hope to introduce a bill in the Dáil that will see regulation in this whole sector and this will in all likelihood prevent rogue operators from functioning.
"I wont be meeting with the Church of Scientology without the expressed will of the community of Ballivor".
It is understood the local community of Ballivor are meeting to discuss the new proposals from Narconon.
The Ballivor Says No group are still intent to travel to Dublin next week to present a petition from the local community against the plans for the centre to the Dáil.
A spokesperson for Narconon added today that they were 'keen to outreach to the people of Ballivor initially, with a wider communications outreach planned' at a later date for the media.