Anti-cult protest planned for outside Tony Quinn seminar

The Irish Times/January 10, 2009

Dialogue Ireland, an organisation that gathers information on new religious movements, says it plans to protest outside a seminar organised by businessman and motivational trainer Tony Quinn this weekend.

Mike Garde, director of Dialogue Ireland, says the picket outside Mr Quinn's Educo seminar in the RDS tomorrow is prompted by concerns about personal and financial problems experienced by participants on previous seminars.

Mr Garde, a prominent campaigner against cults, said he has dealt with more than 300 people who were dissatisfied with their experience of Mr Quinn's various activities.

Participants on Mr Quinn's Educo seminars pay up to €18,000 for training in his system of mind technology. The seminars, often held in exotic locations such as the Bahamas or Egypt, are designed to enable to people to draw out more of their potential as human beings, according to his website. So-called master seminars can cost up to €65,000, Mr Garde says.

Fliers for this weekend's seminar, which is by invitation only, urge participants to learn how to "make a difference" and to make their achievements "bigger, better and more".

A number of former participants on the seminars who spoke to RTÉ radio's Liveline programme this week were critical of their content.

Robert Henshaw from Northern Ireland, said he paid €18,000 to attend a first seminar, where he was "programmed" to want to attend more. He said he got "nothing" from attending the seminars.

Other callers said the seminars had been beneficial. John Boyle, owner of the Boylesports bookmaking chain, said his business had greatly expanded since he attended one of Mr Quinn's courses in 2002. "He helped me to open my mind up and go for big goals."

Attempts to speak to Mr Quinn or one of his representatives for this article were not successful yesterday.

Mr Garde said he was concerned about claims of mental manipulation but had no problem with the people attending the seminars.

Mr Quinn, who is now a wealthy businessman with extensive property interests, has been involved in many different ventures over the decades, including yoga, alternative medicine, weight-loss clinics, health food stores, hypnosis and mind training.

He is best known for his brief role as a mind trainer to boxer Steve Collins in the mid-1990s, when Collins successfully challenged Chris Eubank for the world super middleweight title.

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