Landlords are refusing to rent to Irish students who have gone to Berkeley California to work for the summer on J-1 visas. Last year six Irish students died when a balcony collapsed in Berkeley during a party.
The six students were also on the J-1program. Berkeley has always been a popular accommodation spot and students usually work across the bay in San Francisco.
Many of the young Irish denied housing have expressed their anger to Irish media outlets about the banning because of the balcony incident and the general reputation for partying that Irish students have.
Reporter Richard Chambers of Irish radio station Newstalk talked to students who complained bitterly about discrimination.
Paraic from Limerick and his friends were due to rent an apartment in the Library Gardens area, where the six students died, but were denied.
He stated, “We got three places sorted. The three all fell through.
“The main reason for that is because we’re Irish.
“We had an apartment secured in Library Gardens, where the students were staying last year. Had everything sorted, deposit ready to go.
“And then he said, ‘Oh, sorry, are you actually Irish?’ Straight away there was an excuse.”
Another student, Emma Kelly, said she was refused by a landlady who also told her to stay away from balconies.
She told the "Pat Kenny Show" it had become very difficult to get accommodation if you were Irish, “I went up to one lady and asked her would she sub-let her house for seven students, and she asked me was I Irish.
“She said no way would she hire her house out to the Irish again over what happened last year.
“Basically it’s a massive problem this year with accommodation.”
She added: “It’s been an absolute struggle.”
Many other students have experienced similar problems after the high profile deaths of the six Irish students last summer.
Irish students Eoghan Culligan, Niccolai Schuster, Lorcan Miller, Eimear Walsh, Olivia Burke, all 21, and 22-year-old Irish-American Ashley Donohoe died in the awful events of June 16, 2015 when a balcony they were standing on at a party collapsed. The story was a massive one in Ireland and America.
A subsequent investigation found the students blameless and stated categorically the balcony was not overcrowded but that its wooden supports had rotted. Seven other Irish students suffered serious injury.
Ironically, Berkeley is called after Irish Bishop George Berkeley, a leading philosopher born in Kilkenny.