Recent documents shows that the Irish Church of Scientology is more than €688,000 in debt, as their revenues have dropped by nearly 60%.

According to the Church of Scientology Mission in Dublin, the company's revenues have dropped from €484,070 to €193,509 in 2009. They would not reveal how much money they made this past year.

Because of the drop, the amount of money that the Church was able to spend freely was €68,29, down from €271,804 in 2008, a 74% difference.

Gerard Ryan, the non-executive director of the Church of Scientology Mission in Dublin, blames the church's financial issues on the recession; he said, “We are not immune to the economic circumstances of the wider community and clearly this has impacted on our fundraising efforts.”

He also blames the debt on a legal case that strained that financially over the period of a few years. To help the Dublin branch out, Ryan explained that the “the deficit has been funded by loans from members of the Church of Scientology worldwide and other Church of Scientology missions,” according to the Irish Times.

These interest-free loans, the directors of the church explain, will be repaid back when they have enough resources to stay stable without the help of them. This all depends on how much surplus they gain in the future; the church makes their revenue yearly by selling DVDs, books, and audio recordings.

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The Church of Scientology has attracted such notable celebrities as Tom Cruise and John Travolta. The global movement was created by US author L Rob Hubbard, now deceased. Currently, there are over 9,000 churches worldwide in 165 countries.

Although Hubbard established a Dublin mission in 1958, in only lasted two years. Thirty years later, however, a new base opened again in Dublin. Currently, Ryan reports that there are several hundred followers of the Church in Ireland, more than last year.

Regarding the welfare of their church, Mr Ryan said: “I strongly believe that our church will continue to grow, both in Ireland and worldwide . . . Our growth in Ireland has been slow but steady, which is understandable in such an overwhelmingly Judaeo-Christian country.” He remains hopeful that the Church will continue to reduce their deficit year by year.

Gerard Ryan, spokesman for the Church of Scientology in DublinAidan Crawley