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Dear Editor,
The Magill piece by Paul O'Brien (June 2002) on a prominent Irish-based company and the authorship of its training courses was a game of two halves. Where Mr O'Brien stuck to the essential story - that the training courses used by one of the most successful companies in the world is based on the writings of L Ron Hubbard - the piece rang true. Where the story deviated from facts and got into unsubstantiated allegation it floundered.

While there were many comments about the Church of Scientology, the writer made no contact with the church for any response. L Ron Hubbard was primarily a writer and a humanitarian. His books have sold over 100 million copies, the royalties from which enabled him to dedicate most of his time to research and development of workable and practical solutions within the humanities.

Mr Hubbard's research into the mind and spirit are increasingly being used in secular fields - simply because they are effective. For example, the secular drug rehabilitation programme Narconon is based on his research into the effects of drugs and how to deal with these. It has an independently assessed success rate of between 70 and 80 per cent, and has helped tens of thousands of hard-core drug addicts to kick their habit. Narconon recently opened the largest residential drug rehab centre in the world in Oklahoma, USA.

Mr Hubbard also investigated and wrote on the subject of 'study' and 'education'. The results of his research have provoked comments such as:
"Only a professional writer with a writer's sensitivity to language could have written such an innovative approach to grammar... This is a brilliant book by a brilliant mind. In fact, it is a revolution in thought."
Thus wrote Dr David Rodier PhD, Associate Professor of Philosophy, American University, Washington, describing Hubbard's book, The New Grammar. As regards Ron Hubbard's research into organisational structure and administration theory, Jordan Levy, lecturer at California State University, stated:
"It's a brilliant way of horizontally laying out a company, giving everybody a clear identification of what their responsibility is, but at the same time giving management a tool to use to gauge growth in every area."
The Church of Scientology was founded in 1954 and has grown to nine million members in 150 countries. The Scientology religion holds that man is a spiritual being, that he is basically good, and is capable of spiritual betterment. More information is available at www.scientology.org

Gerard Ryan,
For the Church of Scientology Mission of Dublin

Paul O'Brien replies:
My piece on a training course used by the Irish-based company in question centred on the nature of the course, the company that provides the course, that company's background and its links to Scientology. The Irish-based company in question and the US company which provides the course were both contacted for comment, and their comments were afforded significant space in the article.

The "unsubstantiated allegation" I take to refer to my questioning of the late L Ron Hubbard's own background, and the claims of many of his followers, who attribute to him a remarkable list of achievements.

Officialdom in several countries, most notably France and Germany, are sceptical of many of these claims, and several judges have also questioned them. As such, I believe it is valid to question aspects of his background.

Narconon does indeed have "the largest residential drug rehab centre in the world in Oklahoma", but independent medical experts have questioned the methods of treatment that the facility offers. Similarly, there have been questions raised about educational and training programmes based on research by L Ron Hubbard. I acknowledged that Hubbard's writings have influenced "a range of educational, anti-drug and training programmes among others", but pointed out that most of these are run or administered by Scientologists or legally incorporated bodies or Companies with some affiliation to the movement.