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Charlie Flanagan says students who destroyed San Francisco apartment 'let Ireland down'

The Foreign Affairs Minister has been speaking about the case this morning.

Broken windows at the apartment in San Francisco
Broken windows at the apartment in San Francisco
Image: Screengrab via CBS SF Bay Area

FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTER Charlie Flanagan has said the students who destroyed an apartment they were renting in San Franciso have let Ireland down.

The case involving a group of students on J1 visas in the Californian city has gone viral after the local CBS station broadcast a report showing the extent of the damage to the apartment owned by Rita Vohra.

“These people are letting themselves down, they’re letting their families down, indeed they’re letting Ireland down,” Flanagan told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

He said it is “regrettable” that cases of Irish students behaving badly while abroad are occurring with greater frequency, but stressed that it was only a “very small minority” who are damaging Ireland’s reputation.

“It’s certainly not reflective of the good behaviour of tens of thousands of Irish people and Irish students who go abroad on J1 visas every year,” Flanagan continued.

Yesterday, the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) called on the students responsible to compensate Vohra for the damage. She is currently being assisted by the Irish Consul in the city.

Flanagan said that Irish people living abroad need to be aware of their obligations as tenants that they are “fully accountable to the laws of that city and laws of that state”.

He added: “I think sometimes young people feel when they’re abroad that they are not subject to the same strictures as if they were at home. Of course that’s not the case.”

Read: Irish students who left destroyed apartment are shamed by the news in San Francisco

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Hugh O'Connell

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