Saturday 3 December 2016

€66m jackpot winner has 88 days to claim

Published 31/01/2016 | 02:30

LIFE-CHANGING WIN: Dolores McNamara
LIFE-CHANGING WIN: Dolores McNamara

The hunt is on for the winner of €66m in Friday's EuroMillions draw which came just days after an unidentified couple from Mayo picked up a cheque for €14m in last weekend's massive rollover national jackpot.

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And as usual with these mega wins there was a host of unsubstantiated and false claims linking the big win to various towns and villages throughout yesterday - including a hapless student in Limerick.

But officials from the National Lottery were playing their cards close to their chest last night and are not releasing any details that may point to the identity of Ireland's latest multi-millionaire who has 88 days to collect their winnings.

"This is in line with protocol, to protect the winners and allow them time to decide how they want to collect their big win," a Lottery spokeswoman said.

The massive jackpot of €132,376,632 was split between the Irish ticket holder and another one in France. The winning numbers were 1, 5, 23, 29, 32 and lucky stars 1 and 7.

But even half of the giant pot represents the third largest jackpot ever won in Ireland. It is also the first EuroMillions jackpot to be won here since April 2014.

The astonishing win comes less than a week after a couple from Belmullet, Co Mayo, won the €14m jackpot in last Saturday's National Lottery draw.

Yet despite their newfound wealth, neither the husband nor wife said they would be quitting their jobs in the foreseeable future. However, they will be celebrating their fortune with a long-desired family ski holiday next month and a slap-up dinner this weekend, the couple revealed when they picked up their massive win at the National Lottery headquarters in Dublin last week.

But their win pales in comparison with the lucky mystery winner who scooped €94m in the EuroMillions draw in June 2013 after buying the winning ticket in Beaumont, north Dublin.

But even that fortune is dwarfed by the staggering €115m won by Limerick woman Dolores McNamara, who scooped the top prize in the EuroMillions draw in July 2005.

That stroke of fortune has made her one of the richest people in Ireland.

Overnight, the life of the former 45-year-old cleaner from a modest bungalow in Garryowen changed forever when she won the top prize, not only in the jackpot, but in the history of the EuroMillions lottery itself.

Unlike other major lottery winners who choose to remain anonymous, the mother of six went public after she discovered she held the winning ticket while watching the telly with friends at her local pub.

A local newspaper estimated two years ago that she had amassed over €12m in interest alone since the win. Despite vowing that she wanted to "get back to normality" as soon as possible, her life changed substantially.

Although she moved to a €1.7m lakeside mansion set on 38 acres near Killaloe, Co Clare, she lives quietly, without ostentation.

But it's still a tiny drop in the ocean compared to the vast wealth of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg who was last week named the sixth richest person on the planet. The 31-year-old former computer programmer is now worth $47.5bn.

Sunday Independent

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