Still no date for opening of drugs rehab centre

Some 18 months after the Narconon Trust crossed its final planning hurdle and five years after it first confirmed its plans to open a drug treatment centre in Ballivor, the facility is still not open.

The Meath Chronicle recently contacted the Narconon Trust for an update in relation to its property in Ballivor, and in response Sheila McLean of Narconon Trust stated that the centre was not open yet and did not give a date for when it intended to open the facility.

"The centre is not open as yet. We will get in touch as soon as we have an update for you," her reply stated.

The Meath Chronicle first revealed plans for the controversial drug treatment centre in 2018 after months of speculation locally that Narconon Trust, which is linked to the Church of Scientology, had purchased the former Ballivor National School building and intended to convert it into a treatment centre.

The plans met huge opposition locally with a number of protests taking place in the village.

A lengthy planning battled ensued in relation to Meath County Council's Section 5 declaration in 2016 that planning permission was not required for a change of use from a nursing home to a residential treatment centre.

More than two years later, in 2018, when construction work on the building was nearly complete, An Bord Pleanála made a contradictory declaration but the High Court later quashed its ruling that planning permission was required. An appeal was then taken by Bord Pleanala over the High Court ruling but the Court of Appeal upheld it in November 2021 paving the way for the centre to open.

In March 2018, a delegation from the Narconon Trust visited the Meath Chronicle's office in Navan and outlined that the centre would accommodate 34 recovering addicts and 18 staff and claimed that the centre would be worth around €800,000 per year to the local community.