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Thursday 18 September 2014

From €70 to €32m, EuroMillions Mags is in the big money

Published 02/12/2013 | 02:30

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Margaret Loughrey, the Euromillions winner from Strabane.
Margaret Loughrey, the Euromillions winner from Strabane.
Martin McBreaty, who sold the Euromillions winning ticket, pictured at his shop.
Martin McBreaty, who sold the Euromillions winning ticket, pictured at his shop.

FROM struggling on €70 a week in jobseeker's allowance, Margaret Loughrey is now officially one of Ireland's richest women.

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But she says she will stay in her hometown despite scooping a whopping €32m from the EuroMillions jackpot.

Margaret, or Mags as she is known to her friends, from Strabane, Co Tyrone, struck gold after hitting five numbers and two lucky stars in Tuesday night's draw.

The unemployed and single 48-year-old broke her silence yesterday as the shock of her £26,863,588.20 (€32m) win continued to sink in.

She said that while she had no immediate plans for the money it, would change many lives for the better. Speaking from her modest two-bedroom bungalow, Margaret recalled the moment she realised she was a millionaire many, many times over.

"I left the house on Tuesday because I heard there was a job advertised and I wanted to apply for it. So I went to the Jobcentre and printed out the job application before going to Supervalu. I can't always afford to do the EuroMillions, but I had a couple of extra pound in my purse and just on the spur of the moment, I did a Lucky Dip," she said.

LUCKY STARS

The shop assistant handed her the slip with the numbers 19, 23, 27, 42 and 44 with Lucky Stars 3 and 5. In a seven-billion-to-one stroke of luck, they were the exact numbers drawn. "I got up at 7am on Wednesday and put on the television. I just had this notion so I checked my numbers and there they were.

"I was just in state of shock and I must have checked 10 times. I took a walk out to the back garden and sat out there for a while before coming back in and checking again. I must have walked around the house for five hours before ringing my brother and asking him to call up."

A chunk of it will however go to her four brothers, sister, 75-year-old mother, extended family and a few close friends.

"I think I deserve it," she said.

"I'm a good person and I bother no one. If whatever is out there has given me this amount of money, then it couldn't be for anything but good. All it will do is change lives for the better and make a lot of people happy, not just me."

Margaret said that before her winnings, she had often dreamt of retiring to the south of Spain, but she will not allow the money to change her.

"Definitely not. It won't change who I am. Strabane will always be home for me."

Conor Sharkey

Irish Independent

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