Ireland’s Secret Cults is a 2011 Irish TV documentary which sees reporters Michael Ryan and Ciara Doherty lifting the lid on various secretive religious cults operating in Ireland, the best known of which is of course Scientology. Ireland has always had a reputation as a highly religious country but the shrinking influence of the church has left room for various fringe groups and sects to gain members.
The documentary examines three different groups, two of them Catholic (House of Prayer and The Palmarians) and the third Scientology. Interestingly the documentary revealed that Scientology in Ireland is loss-making, which suggests that it hasn’t managed to gain a hold as it has in some other countries.
The House of Prayer is a group established in Ireland by an Irish Catholic woman named Christina Gallagher in 1993 and has since established a presence in the United States, in 2011 it was reported that Gallagher had used profits from the group to buy a £2 million mansion in Shropshire, England. The Palmarian Church has its roots in Spain and is a far-right version of the Catholic Church, they appoint their own pope and seek to undermine the reforms of Pope Francis.