THE Irishwoman who won millions of dollars in the New York lotto – and then fought a two-year legal battle with her ex-husband over the cash – has revealed her relief that they have come to an amicable settlement.
Patricia Daly reached a divorce settlement with ex-husband Jamie Eisel last week and has travelled home to Tullamore, Co Offaly, to enjoy Christmas with her family.
She called the end of the legal battle "the best present in the world" and said that her holiday at home in Ireland was the beginning of a "new start" for her and her three sons.
Ms Daly (41) won the New York State lottery jackpot of $21.5m (€16.2m) at the start of 2011 and opted for an $8m (€6m) lump sum instead of taking the money in installments.
She had only bought the ticket after being stranded in New York due to the snow and ice in Ireland that winter.
At this point, she was separated from Mr Eisel – who was in a new relationship – but the pair had never filed for divorce and he claimed he was entitled to half of the prize.
He also took a restraining order out to prevent her from spending the money and earlier this year refused an offer of $1m (€755,000) from Ms Daly.
They reached a settlement for an undisclosed amount in Nassau County Supreme Court last week, with Ms Daly understood to be walking away with the bulk of the cash – reportedly as much as $5m (€3.7m).
In a newspaper interview, Ms Daly said: "This is the best present in the world. I can't even describe what this means to me and my boys. It's a dream come true."
She said: "I just want to forget the whole mess and give me and the boys an amazing Christmas at home in Tullamore."
Ms Daly moved to the United States in 1995, married Mr Eisel and had three sons with him, Cory (11), Ryan (9) and Liam (5).
The pair later separated but Ms Daly said she never thought her ex-husband would try to claim half the money from her lottery jackpot win.
She said: "I never thought Jamie would do this to me even though everyone kept telling me to watch out."
Speaking of the case, she said: "I could not have had that hanging over me at Christmas."
The family are understood to be celebrating the Christmas holidays in Tullamore where Ms Daly's mother Margaret still lives.
She says she is planning a trip to Disneyland with the boys in 2013 and is looking to buy a home in New York.
Speaking after last week's result in court, she said: "I'm very happy – it couldn't be better. The last couple of years have been horrendous."
Asked what she would do with the money, she said: "I will buy a home, not a house, in New York. Something very comfortable with a big, fenced-in yard that the boys can run around in. I know they'll be thrilled when I tell them we'll also buy a dog."