Wednesday 26 July 2017

Millionaire busman just returned to work after serious illness when he scooped share in €24m jackpot

Buses at Broadstone depot and (inset) Larry O'Brien
Buses at Broadstone depot and (inset) Larry O'Brien
Larry O'Brien
Buses at Broadstone depot

Ryan Nugent and Alan O'Keeffe

One of the members of the Dublin Bus EuroMillions syndicate had just returned to work after recovering from a serious illness.

Colleagues at the Broadstone depot in Phibsboro said half-a-dozen of the 22 drivers and staff who shared the €24m jackpot arrived for their regular shifts yesterday.

"It's brilliant news. I know one of the lads who had a very serious illness and he was not long back in work after two years out. We're happy for them all," said a 52-year-old bus driver.

Another, aged 49, told the Herald: "We were surprised when five or six of them came into work today. Dublin Bus drivers really deserve a win and the public are delighted.

"If I was one of the winners I wouldn't give up the job. I'd probably ask the wife what to do. I'd stick at the job as a good example for my daughters."

Of the 22 syndicate members, it is understood that 20 are drivers, one is an inspector and the other is retired.

Only two of the drivers are under 50, with most in their 50s and 60s and with long service behind them. While one or two might decide to take an early retirement, most are expected to carry on working.

Controller, David McCarthy told the Herald that he thinks they will keep their lives as normal as possible.

"It will mean something good for all of them - it's great that it got spread around," he said.

"I don't think it will lead to early retirements. Maybe they'll just treat their families and carry on as normal."

It wasn't the only lotto win at the Broadstone depot last week as a separate syndicate also scooped a prize.

The management syndicate of 50 people won €6,700 - or €134 each - last Wednesday.

"We thought we were doing well until the lads landed the big one," said Mark Drew.

Another inspector, Tony Carey, said that "our day will come too, hopefully".

The 22 big winners will have to wait until later this week to pick up their winnings.

It is understood that National Lottery officials are speaking with the group about the possibility of them going public.

If they do decide to collect their giant cheque this week, the red carpet will be rolled out and champagne corks will pop for what is a rare big victory for Irish players in the EuroMillions.

Two of the winners, who work from Monday to Friday, turned up at the depot early on Saturday morning after hearing of the win to check if the numbers matched.

Dublin Bus chief executive Ray Coyne said: "I'm delighted for each and every one of them and their families.

"It's great to see such a large number of our employees sharing in the win. We wish them all the best."

Chief inspector Larry O'Brien at the winning depot said he was "absolutely jealous".

"Ah, but I'm delighted for them, you have to say that, don't you?" he said.

"They're senior men. I'd imagine many of them felt obliged to turn up to work.

"Some of them have 40 years' service with us. They wouldn't have made it as far as they did in Dublin Bus if they weren't decent blokes."

A driver said: "It's nice to see working class lads winning it. Some are only two or three years away from retirement."

Another member of staff said "I just wish it was me."

It was the fourth-highest EuroMillions prize awarded in Ireland and the second major syndicate win for Irish punters this year.

A group of friends collected €66m in January after sharing the €132m jackpot with another winner in France.

A syndicate won €87m in Ballybrack in 2014 and €94m was also won in north Dublin in 2013.

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