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U.S. Mayor fibs about marshal honor

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The mayor of Springfield, Illinois, has come under fire for telling fibs about his status at this year’s St. Patrick’s Day parade in Killarney, Co. Kerry.

Mayor Tim Davlin told the State Journal Register before his trip to Killarney -- the town is twinned with Springfield -- that he was asked to be the grand marshal and to lead the St. Patrick’s Day parade up through the streets of the well known Kerry tourist town.  

Davlin told the Illinois paper prior to his visit that the trip was “a pretty big deal to me” because “they’ve asked me to be the grand marshal of the St. Patrick’s Day parade. So that’s pretty exciting.” He also said he was grand marshal there in 2004.

“They just called me and asked me,” he said. “I don’t know what to tell you. We go there quite often.”

However, after further investigation from a State Journal Register reporter it seemed the mayor got his wires crossed.

Irish Gaelic football legend Mick O’Dwyer was in fact the 2009 St. Patrick’s Day Parade grand marshal in Killarney. 

It was O’Dwyer who led the parade up the streets of the town, not Davlin. The Springfield mayor and other officials from other twin towns in Europe traveled behind O’Dwyer and behind the mayor of Killarney in a carriage. 

When the journalist asked Davlin about Mick O’Dwyer being the Grand Marshal, Davlin said, “I don’t know who that guy was.” O’Dwyer is one of Ireland’s most beloved sporting heroes who managed the Kerry footballers to a record eight All-Ireland championships.

Davlin added,. “My understanding is … that guy was like an honorary something-or-other. I don’t know, but they sure treated us like we were the grand marshals, the three of us … I don’t think anybody’s lying. I don’t think we have anything to gain by that.”

Davlin said it wasn’t until he got into the carriage that he realized he would be sharing it with other officials.

So why did Davlin think he was the grand marshal? Davlin blames his brother Kevin for the mix up.

Kevin said it was his fault. “I put it on his calendar. I don’t know if I used the term ‘grand marshal’ or ‘marshal’ or what I did when I put it on his calendar six months, eight months ago. Whatever term I used, I used,” said Kevin, who also admitted he wasn’t aware of “this man O’Dwyer.”

This wasn’t the first time Mayor Davlin hit the headlines. Back in November, The Kingdom newspaper ran an article stating that he promised to get President Barack Obama to visit the town of Killarney.

The article said, “The Mayor of Springfield, Timothy J. Davlin, who is said to be politically close to Obama and an influential figure in Democratic circles, said he would do everything in his power to encourage Obama to visit Killarney.”

It quoted former Killarney mayor and town councilor Niall O’Callaghan saying, “Mayor Davlin promised that if Obama won the election, he would have him sipping a pint in the Failte in Killarney within three years.”

Davlin denies every telling O’Callaghan that he would bring Obama to Ireland.

“I gave Niall a little bit of a hard time. Yeah, like I’m going to promise to get Barack Obama there. That was pretty funny,” said Davlin.

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