IF a peace pole was reinstated in Cook Park it could become a rallying point to raise the importance of world peace, according to humanitarian Sister Pat Linnane.
Sister Linnane and Sister Mary Trainor of the Sisters of Mercy both say the number of refugees seeking to make a new life in Australia would not be coming here unless they were trying to escape conflict in their countries.
“Peace is at the heart of it all,” Sister Trainor said.
Sister Linnane recalled the importance of installing a peace pole with the wording “May Peace Prevail on Earth” in Cook Park in the mid 1980s when she was working at Croagh Patrick Orphanage.
“A new pole here in the park could be a place where people could come with their children and talk to them about the importance not only of peace but opening our hearts and our country to refugees who have nowhere else to go,” she said.
The pole was removed by council staff several years ago after it deteriorated.
Councillor Neil Jones who met with the women yesterday in Cook Park where the previous peace pole used to stand, said he will support the women by putting forward a motion to council for a new pole to be installed.
When Sister Linnane pushed for the original peace pole to be installed in the park more than 25 years ago it was the beginning of a movement that would take off across the world with hundreds of thousands of poles now placed in every continent across the globe and inscribed in the language of the country.
Orange mayor John Davies said he is amenable to the idea as both woman who are strong advocates for human rights are highly respected in Orange and Bathurst.
Cr John Davis said he can’t recall seeing the original peace pole in Cook Park.
Sister Linnane said she has raised the issue of the peace pole as part of a campaign to encourage people to write to detainees in detention centres and send their letters to refugee advocate Julian Burnside QC.
Footnote: Sister Linnane has left information at the Central Western Daily on how to go about the process of writing to detainees, and the information can be collected and letters dropped off in the box at the CWD.
COUNCILLOR Neil Jones said he is so stirred by the plight of the latest boat of Sri Lankan refugees he is calling a public meeting to bring together the people of Orange who want show their support for asylum seekers.
Cr Jones said he has already started making plans to secure a venue and hopes to hold the meeting in a few weeks when details are locked in.
“This has been building for me all week and today I just felt I had to do something and can no longer stand by.
“My wife Libby and I have spent time in Sri Lanka and their plight is close to our hearts.
“I am just so outraged at what is happening in this country and the way asylum seekers are being treated.
“There are many people in Orange who do not share the views of the government and their harsh policies,” Cr Jones said.
Cr Jones said he is trying to secure one a council facility for the public meeting even if he has to pay for it himself.
However mayor John Davis said he is happy to speak with Cr Jones and see what can be arranged.
“Regardless of what a person’s views are the role of council is to provide facilities for everyone in the community.
“And over the years we have done that by providing meeting facilities for people with a variety of different views and I think in this instance it is the right thing to do,” Cr Davis said.