I WAS looking up some details on the role of Sergeant at Mace and came across the late Peter McEvoy.
He retired from the role in fact, in 1981, the Francis Street man gaining great praise from then mayor Fergus O’Dowd, saying he was the most courteous of all the corporation staff. Colr. Tommy Murphy described him as “one of the characters of this town.”
Meanwhile Colr. Ray Dempsey, the Corporation’s rhymaster, composed a verse in honour of Peter, remarking he was ‘proud to be seen as a member of this team.”
Peter had the rare distinction of being pensioned off not once but twice from Droghcda Corporation.
There were some working with him who remembered the occasion in 1954 when Peter hurt his back in an accident and, as a result, was retired and put on pension—a princely £ I per week.
After a year’s convalescence Peter took another job with Cement Limited but then County Manager, Mr. L. MacKell invited back to work in Fair Street!
Peter, in fact, was happy to return to Drogheda Corporation where he loved his work. In his early years with the council he acted as assistant to mason, Frank McGovern of Corporation Cottages. In those days there were just 26 people employed at Drogheda Corporation but there were 100 in 1981.
On the retirement of Edward Mullen, Peter took over the position of assisting in the stores. That was in I960 and he continued with this work until 1975 when, on the death of Mr. Paddy Garvey, he took over the role of Sergeant at Mace.
As the mace bearer he saw many important occasions occur in Drogheda. He assisted at ceremonies which saw the Freedom of the Borough being conferred on important personages. But no occasion impressed him as much as the arrival of Pope John Paul II and he gloried in the preparations with which he helped.
Up to 1926, the sword and mace were carried in state at all important celebrations but that practice ended.
It is interesting to note that one of the rare times they were carried in public was at the funeral of Mr. Garvey. Paddy, of 226 Ballsgrove, a great lover of the town’s former glories, expressed the wish that when he died the mace and sword would be carried on his coffin. His wish was granted.
Peter enjoyed looking back on the days in the old Corporation, when he helped push the town’s handcart fire engine, or when that zealous Irishman, the former Mayor of the town. Ald. Larry Walsh instructed that everything in town be painted green. His instructions meant that all the doors of council houses were green and Drogheda’s Merryweather fire engine became the only green fire tender in Ireland!
Peter’s wife, Cepta (nee White), was a former dancing teacher.
Peter was a member of the immensely popular Boyne Ceili and Old Time Band. On the line-up with him in those days were Reggie Payne (violin). Peter Delaney (accordion), Kitty Stanley (piano), Daisy Comyn (piano) and Jimmy Delaney (violin), Jemser White (drums), Frank English (drums) and Paddy McCann (sax).
Later Peter, an accordionist, was to form what was probably the town’s first trio. The Black Dots, with Jemser White and Peter Delaney. He also taught Fintan Stanley the accordion. Peter, who was the son of Daniel and Elizabeth McEvoy of Bolton Square, passed away in 1994.
The famed Sword and Mace