Saturday 24 February 2018

Cheque this out: with €11m in their back pocket the McIntyres are going back to work on farm

The McIntyre family, from Belmullet, Co Mayo, celebrate with champagne outside the Lotto offices in Dublin
The McIntyre family, from Belmullet, Co Mayo, celebrate with champagne outside the Lotto offices in Dublin yesterday
Martin and Evelyn hold up their cheque.

Louise Hogan

IRELAND'S newest multimillionaires will not be giving up their day jobs despite their newfound riches.

For the next few months at least, life for farmer Martin and Evelyn McIntyre and their four grown-up children -- Michelle (29), Stephanie (27), Sandra (26) and Shane (18) -- will continue pretty much as normal.

There are cattle to be fed, children to be taught and hotel customers to be kept happy, as come 9am on Monday they all return to their jobs.

There was nothing ostentatious on the wishlist of the firmly grounded McIntyre family from Belmullet, Co Mayo, as they gathered up a posse of close friends and neighbours for the bus ride down to the National Lottery HQ yesterday morning.

The thrilled clan admitted they had yet to fully grasp the enormity of the life-changing €11,033,593 now burning a hole in their bank accounts.

"It has been a whirlwind week. No one expected it, least of all us. These kinds of things happen to other people," laughed Stephanie.

The 25-strong entourage of neighbours and friends happily supped champagne as photographers urged the family to punch the air in jubilation with their giant cheque.

They denied there were any lavish celebrations planned on their return to the west.

"We'll sit back and enjoy it from now until Christmas and whatever the new year brings. A shopping spree might come before Christmas," Sandra said with a big smile, as the girls admitted New York might be an option.

One thing they all want is a replacement for Martin's much-loved Opel. However, the likelihood of a red Ferrari cruising the roads of Belmullet is slim.

"A sports car isn't suitable for the roads of Mayo," he quipped, with his sights possibly set on a four-wheel-drive for those wintry months ahead.

The youngest in the family, Shane, who was at the family's bungalow as they checked the numbers on Saturday night, is also hoping for a car to drive to his PLC course in renewable energy in Rossport.

Evelyn admitted she might be lured from her beloved Belmullet for a couple of weeks early next year. But a tropical getaway was not really her thing.

The first post-Lotto airline ticket was booked by Stephanie, who took a few days break from her job in customer service at a Manchester hotel to fly home on Monday.

Martin admitted his cows had been a tad neglected since Evelyn discovered the family had landed last weekend's jackpot.

"We all work. We know what it is like. It will make our lives an awful lot easier and comfortable. We are all back to work next week though," Sandra, a primary teacher in Dublin, said. "I haven't been back to school yet. The children are all excited."

Evelyn, who survived a battle with breast cancer a few years ago, only purchased the ticket in Annette Howard's Eurospar in Belmullet as she had gone to get phone credit for Sandra.

"After Winning Streak I checked the numbers. Martin put on the teletext and I checked the numbers. I had Martin check them and double-check them," Evelyn revealed.

"There was a bit of screaming going on. A few of the neighbours came in then," Martin said.

They even indulged in a few drinks.

Meanwhile, a Co Limerick resident was also celebrating after winning €1m in this month's Prize Bonds Millionaire draw. The winning bond was PI 67 3933.

Irish Independent

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