Thursday 27 June 2019

'Not over my dead body will our chains go to Dundalk'

Hubert Murphy

Mayor Frank Godfrey gave the greatest indication yet that the role of mayor of Drogheda is to go after next year's local elections - if the council get their way.

But he says if the mayoral chains of the town - dating to 1877 - are 'retired' then they must be kept on display in the town, be it the Highlanes Gallery with the Sword and Mace or Millmount Museum.

But he says there is talk that they will be taken to the county museum in Dundalk.

At a special day in the Tholsel last week, where the historic chains went on display, the mayor said a piece of Drogheda's history would be staying by the Boyneside.

'Over my dead body will our chains go to Dundalk. Some of Drogheda's history has been moved from Fair Street to Dundalk,' he stated.

He says the value of the chains, believed to be between €35,000 - €50,000 - and their size means they can be difficult to look after.

Ideally, he would see the chains going on display in town and a new set commissioned for the new council next year.

But he warned there seems to be indications that the council don't want any chains and the role of mayor could be replaced by a Cathaoirleach.

He also used the occasion to raise the dire straits the local tourist office at The Tholsel now finds itself in.

Lack of funding means that screens erected in recent years, showing off the area, are now blank. Staff hours are also being cut.

''There is little support for the staff here. Even after the Fleadh, there is no funding for the offices here. This is an historic town in an historic area,' he said.

Liam Reilly, who gave a talk on the history of the mayors of the town, said they were running a Friends of the Boyne scheme, asking local businesses to contribute €40 to be part of it. But many don't support it.

He outlined many aspects of the famous chains but revealed that many mayors were not even named on the links.

Drogheda Independent