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Taoiseach marches alongside Conor McGregor in Chicago's St Patrick's Day parade

Government officials were left surprised at McGregor’s appearance at the parade.

Updated Mar 16th 2019, 5:33 PM

Leo Varadkar visit to US - Day 4 Conor McGregor joins Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel during the St Patrick's Day Parade in Chicago Source: PA Wire/PA Images

Christina Finn reporting from Chicago

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR has marched alongside Conor McGregor in the St Patrick’s Day parade in Chicago today.

The Taoiseach followed his tradition of marching in the New York parade last year by taking to the streets of Chicago to march in the city’s parade this time around. 

Government officials were left surprised when McGregor arrived to march in the parade, which he led alongside the city’s mayor, Rahm Emanuel.

However, officials were not been informed that the MMA star – who was charged with “strong arm robbery and criminal mischief” in Florida this week – would be appearing, saying that the decision was made by Emanuel’s office.

The Taoiseach told reporters that he was not aware that McGregor would be marching in the parade. 

“I wasn’t actually. I’d imagine the parade organisers invited him but that’s it really?

When asked if they had a chance to chat to each other, he said:

“No, no. We didn’t have a chance to talk.”

The Taoiseach was also asked if it was appropriate that someone like Mcgregor is representing Ireland, given that he has been convicted of a crime.
It’s up to the organisers of the parade to decide who they want to march in the parade. I don’t think he was representing the country, that’s kind of what I was doing and Minister Ring as well. That’s why we’re here.”
Conor McGregor pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct, avoiding jail time, for his role in the UFC 223 media day fracas at Barclays Center in Brooklyn last year.

Varadkar’s appearance at the parade followed his meeting with US President Donald Trump in the White House on Thursday, before the Taoiseach arrived in Chicago last night.

Last night he attended the St Patrick’s Day dinner hosted by the Irish Fellowship Club of Chicago.

Leo Varadkar visit to US - Day 4 Taoiseach Leo Varadkar during the St Patrick's Day Parade in Chicago Source: PA Wire/PA Images

Also in attendance were the Ambassador for Ireland to the United States, Daniel Mulhall, as well as Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring.

During his stay in Chicago, Varadkar will meet with a number of emigrant support groups that receive Irish Government funding.

Before the parade he also attended Mass at the Old St Patrick’s Church, before taking to the water for the Tourism Ireland “greening” of the Chicago river boat trip.

Leo Varadkar visit to US - Day 4 Source: PA Wire/PA Images

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