IRELAND’S newest millionaire has just seven days to prevent a Christmas dream from turning into an Easter nightmare.
The National Lottery issued an eleventh hour plea for the owner of a Christmas Millionaire raffle ticket to contact them by close of business next Friday (March 31) before the winning pass becomes null and void.
To underline the urgency of their appeal, a National Lottery team travelled to Cork to yesterday visit the outlet where the winning ticket was sold almost three months ago.
Staff at the Topaz garage on Lower Tivoli Road, on the outskirts of Cork city, sold ticket number 179740 on December 21.
The ticket later scooped the €1m top prize in the Christmas raffle draw.
Under National Lottery rules, a winning ticket holder has 90 days to claim their prize.
If the holder or holders fail to do so by 6pm on Friday next, their winnings will revert back into the National Lottery prize fund.
National Lottery head of marketing, Michael Hayes, urged anyone who purchased a €20 Christmas Millionaire ticket at Topaz in Cork to carefully check their tickets.
"Millionaire Raffle tickets are a popular gift at Christmas time so we would appeal to all those who have bought a ticket as a gift or who may have received a ticket from a loved one to check their tickets for a chance of claiming a life-changing €1m prize."
Topaz store manager, Niall Buckley, said they hope the ticket owner realises their good fortune in time.
"It would be fantastic to see whoever it is claim the prize in time," he said.
Topaz marketing director, MJ Tierney, said they are optimistic the story will have a happy ending.
"We are very hopeful that the ticket is found and someone can enjoy a late Christmas present," he said.
"It would be great to welcome a newly-crowned millionaire customer back to the store."
Eleventh-hour claims are nothing new to the National Lottery - or to their Cork customers.
One Cork winner of a EuroMillions prize waited until exactly one hour before the expiry time for claims to lodge their ticket for the €380,000 prize.
That followed a similar media campaign by the National Lottery for the winner to come forward.
Due to National Lottery rules, they cannot specify precisely when the Christmas Millionaire ticket was purchased on December 21.