Scientologists have targeted a mother of two autistic sons through a website which claims she is among “hatemongers” who oppose the church.
Fiona O’Leary, 46, was referred to as a bigot by Stand League, an organisation affiliated with the Church of Scientology, because she disagrees with teachings by the movement on autism.
A post carried a detailed description of Ms O’Leary, an autism rights campaigner, with statements about her income and her family.
She complained to gardaí last year after she claimed a Scientology member offered her a €1,600 detoxification programme for one of her autistic sons. Purification Rundown is a trademark owned by the governing body of the Church of Scientology.
The programme includes sweating in a sauna for several hours a day, an intense exercise regime and taking high doses of supplements for several weeks. Ms O’Leary, who has five children aged from eight to 25, protested against the opening of the new €6 million Scientology centre in Firhouse, south Dublin, last year, and a drug rehabilitation centre in Co Meath run by Narconon, which has links to the church.
Ms O’Leary is featured under the “hatemongers” section of the Stand League along with Leah Remini, 47, the American actress and former Scientologist whose documentary on why she left the church won an Emmy award last year.
On the post dedicated to Ms O’Leary, of Cork. the group claims she has “campaigned against autism treatments despite having autistic children.” It add that she has a history of “irrational rants and threats”.
Stand League claims it was founded to put a stop to “incitement of bigotry and hate crime” and to protect Scientologists from intolerance and prejudice.
On its website it attacks critics of the church in three categories: “biased media propagandists, hatemongers, and false experts.”
Ms O’Leary has also campaigned against therapies such as “miracle mineral solution” (MMS), a corrosive bleach which is sold as a treatment for autism. The Stand League claims she has falsely accused members of the church of promoting the product. It said this was evidence of her willingness to “manipulate information and spread lies”.
Ms O’Leary said: “When you stand up against Scientology, you expect to get trolled, but many of the attacks strike me as low. My children are of an age where they may find this page online and be hurt by it. I feel powerless to stop it but I know it’s my right to oppose the things they advocate.”
Diana Stahl, a spokeswoman for the Church of Scientology in Dublin, said the material on the website is what Ms O’Leary herself has posted and is “self-explanatory.” She added: “Stand League’s mission is to protect Scientologists from intolerance and prejudice and to dispel rumours and lies.”
Scientology was founded by L Ron Hubbard in 1954. Along with the Firhouse centre, it has an office on Merrion Square. The last census showed there were 87 members in Ireland.