Reported in the News Letter on February 14, 1934: Ulster ‘will decline any Irish marriage proposal’

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There was a large and enthusiastic meeting of members of the Woodvale-Falls Women’s Unionist Association in the West Belfast Orange Hall last night.

Mrs A Crawford Browne, president of the association, who presided, expressed their unbounded pleasure at having Lord and Lady Cushendun with them.

Lady Cushendun, who was the principal speaker, was accompanied on the platform by Lord Cushendun, and they had a very cordial reception.

In the course of her address, the keynote of which was patriotism, Lady Cushendun observed: “One word about General O’Duffy’s proposal of marriage.

“General O’Duffy is under a misapprehension. He thinks we in Ulster are still single, but we are very happily married and have been in that fortunate position for 134 years. We have a good business; we have our children all over the world, and we do good business with them.

“Our answer to General O’Duffy is that he can’t marry the lady, but he is welcome to come back to the family circle and into the business if he likes.

“We wish everyone well but we are entitled to say, ‘hands off Ulster’. We shall have no interference!

“As for General O’Duffy’s proposal of marriage, the farthest we will go will be to say, ‘Be a good partner and we will welcome you back’.”

[Eoin O’Duffy, 1892-1944, was an IRA chief in the War of Independence. He would later be a Garda Commissioner, before becoming leader of the fascist Blueshirts.]