Tuesday 15 October 2019

Organisers silent over why McGregor was 'special visitor' alongside Varadkar

 

Appearance: Conor McGregor joins Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel (left) during the parade in Chicago. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Appearance: Conor McGregor joins Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel (left) during the parade in Chicago. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

The Irish Embassy in Chicago is seeking answers as to how both Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and MMA fighter Conor McGregor both led the city's famous St Patrick's Day parade.

McGregor caused a stir when he appeared alongside Mr Varadkar, Rural Affairs Minister Michael Ring and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel in the parade on Saturday.

Speaking afterwards, Mr Varadkar said he was not aware that McGregor would be in attendance and said he did not think the fighter was representing Ireland by participating.

The sportsman marched in the parade just days after he hit headlines over an incident in Miami which led to his arrest. He faces up to 15 years in prison in the US after allegedly smashing a fan's phone.

He previously avoided a criminal record after he pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct at a UFC event in New York last year.

A spokesman for the Taoiseach told the Irish Independent that neither the mayor's office nor the Irish consulate were aware McGregor would be participating in the parade.

"The parade has always been led by elected officials from city, county and state, the head of the plumbers union, the chaplain, Grand Marshall and a visiting Irish dignitary," he said.

"The consulate has sought clarification from the organisers but none has been forthcoming."

The spokesman also said "there was no interaction with Conor McGregor".

The parade organisers and the mayor's office had not responded to requests for comment at the time of writing.

Meanwhile, the mayor - whose brother Ari Emanuel is a co-owner of the UFC empire - appeared to have deleted a tweet in which he referred to the MMA fighter as a "special visitor".

Irish Independent

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