CHICAGO (CBS) — The Consul General of Ireland highlighted his nation’s diplomatic expertise during a public relations stunt designed to showcase Chicago’s Irish Pride — at the Water Tower on North Michigan.

A group calling itself “ShamRock” Chicago is collecting signatures on a petition asking Chicago be dubbed the U.S. headquarters for Saint Patrick’s day.

Consul General Aiden Cronin diplomatically said the Chicago initiative is excellent but he certainly would not select Chicago’s Irish community over those in Boston, New York, Philadelphia or any other city with a large Irish population.

“Having lived here for a year and a half, I can certainly say it is a great Irish-American city,” said Cronin.

The Shamrock Chicago organizers say they’re not trying to set up a Saint Patrick’s day franchise. Marlene Byrne, president of Celtic Chicago said “You can’t franchise a Saint.”

She said the group just wants to stir up a little friendly competition with other Irish American communities and raise awareness of the Irish in Chicago.

She pointed out that uniquely in the U.S., Chicago has three major Saint Patrick’s day parades: The South Side Irish parade last weekend, this Saturday’s downtown parade and then the Northwest Side Irish parade on Sunday.

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