Friday 19 December 2014

Irish lottery winner: I'll build giant Olympic swimming pool

Published 28/08/2014 | 07:01

Margaret Loughrey, the Euromillions winner from Strabane.
Margaret Loughrey, the Euromillions winner from Strabane.

A Northern Ireland woman who won €34 million on the Euromillions lottery - and who previously said she would give away a whopping €33m - has earmarked €8m to find Ireland's Olympic swimming champion.

Tyrone woman Margaret Loughrey plans to keep just €1.25m of her massive fortune. Since the windfall she's been handing out money to help people in need and has already parted with €17m.

Now, she has told The Star newspaper that she plans to build a 50-metre swimming pool in her hometown of Strabane which could be used by swimmers from around the country.

"I'll do what it takes. We can find the next Olympic champion," she told The Star.

Margaret (48), who bought the lucky dip ticket on the way home from the Job Centre, has already splashed out around €1.25m to buy the historic Herdman's Mill in Sion Mills. She plans to transform it into a leisure and tourism destination.

However her plans to buy Strabane's vacant 22-acre business park site were turned down by Invest NI on the grounds that they didn't meet with criteria.

Margaret had been hoping to build a craft village but Invest NI said a business plan which focused on export growth was needed. But she won't let that deter her from turning Strabane into a focal point for tourism.

"People laugh at me when I say things will be different next year because it is like Del Boy [in TV show Only Fools and Horses] but I mean it," she said. "I want to build 140 houses and sell them off at affordable prices to help young families."

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