What next for Ireland's newest millionaires? Bus drivers roll up in style to collect winnings at Lotto HQ
Cheers, applause, balloons and a long red carpet greeted 22 new millionaires at Lotto headquarters Thursday afternoon.
The 21 bus drivers and one bus inspector arrived, appropriately, in a glistening double decker bus with a garda motorcycle escort.
The bus drivers, who routinely ask passengers for €2 or €3, were able to demand a fare of €23.8m from the Lotto chiefs today.
The men from Dublin Bus and their partners stepped jauntily onto the red carpet on Lower Abbey Street and walked passed a battery of photographers on their way into the building.
One man punched the air with his fist as he skipped out the door of the bus.
The man with the job of driving the winners to their huge fortune was Les Murphy (52) from Phibsboro.
"There was great craic on the bus. I know every one of them. I picked them all up at the Aisling Hotel," said Les, who was not a winner himself.
"All the winners are male. There were some very happy faces on board," said Les, a regular on the 220 bus route.
51-year-old David Doherty from Finglas, John Brady (63) who lives in West Dublin and Craig Shearer spoke to the gathered media before the group was presented with the €23.8m cheque.
Doherty, who has been a driver with Dublin Bus for the past 33 years said he wants to buy a car with his share of the win.
“I’d be looking for a decent car, not a fancy car. I’m looking at a couple, I don’t know. I’m looking at a few. Maybe I might get one for cheap,” he explained.
Doherty said he moved to Finglas about 28 years ago and has no intention of leaving now that he is a millionaire.
“The neighbours are absolutely brilliant. The area is brilliant, so there’s no way I would move out of Finglas. I’ll be staying there.”
Despite not wanting to move home or build an extension to his current house as his children are now older and leaving the house anyway, he said he’d think about getting a new kitchen.
He also explained that his children were worried about him following the win last week but that they will “take a few days out and go on a weekend away and sort things out.”
Doherty said he took Monday and Tuesday off work but was back again on Wednesday and Thursday and after another day off on Friday off, would be back to work again on Monday.
He also spoke of the moment he discovered he had won, saying: “We were down on the canal, me and me wife, cycling along and I got a phone call off one of the lads on a different phone so I thought it was a joke and then rang up another couple of the lads and they were all saying ‘I’m not sure. I’m not sure.’
“And then I rang the garage and the inspector in the garage said ‘no, they’re all jumping around up here. You’re after winning. You’re a millionaire.’ I couldn’t hold it in then, I was jumping around.”
"We’re getting this cheque up into the bank as soon as we can and then we’ll decide what we’re doing later on.”
John Brady, who is a former native of Mayo in the west of Ireland is now living in West Dublin. He has worked with Dublin Bus for the past 43 years and is close to retiring from his job.
Brady thanked the management of Dublin Bus for their support since the group won last week. He said: “The management of Dublin Bus - couldn’t praise them more, the way they looked after us the past few days and I want to thank Dublin Bus for giving me a good career in Dublin Bus.”
The syndicate pot, which ended up winning the €23.8m for the 22 drivers, had a €10 pay in every 5 weeks.
According to the drivers, there’s still €18 in the pot and the syndicate will continue. However when asked if the group hoped to win again some day in the future, Doherty replied: “We won’t be greedy.”