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Case study: 'The alarms went berserk as people were cooking in their bedrooms'

  

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Campaigning: Bulelani Mfaco, a spokesman for the Movement of Asylum Seekers Ireland, recalled the chaos in one direct provision centre on Christmas Eve 2018. PHOTO: DON MOLONEY

Campaigning: Bulelani Mfaco, a spokesman for the Movement of Asylum Seekers Ireland, recalled the chaos in one direct provision centre on Christmas Eve 2018. PHOTO: DON MOLONEY

Don Moloney

Campaigning: Bulelani Mfaco, a spokesman for the Movement of Asylum Seekers Ireland, recalled the chaos in one direct provision centre on Christmas Eve 2018. PHOTO: DON MOLONEY

It was Christmas Eve 2018, and alarm bells were ringing in Knockalisheen direct provision centre in Co Clare.

Bulelani Mfaco, an activist living in direct provision, says that he remembers the noise clearly. "The fire alarms were going berserk because of people cooking in their bedrooms and having to lock their rooms so management didn't catch them," Mr Mfaco, who is also a spokesman for the Movement of Asylum Seekers Ireland (MASI), said.

Knockalisheen was one of a number of direct provision centres where inspection reports found people with cooking equipment in their rooms, and covering smoke alarms. The centre does not have any self-catering cooking facilities for its residents.