Friday 15 December 2017

Lotto winner to get extra €50,000 after row delay

Lotto jackpot
Lotto jackpot
Mark O'Regan

Mark O'Regan

The winner of the €8.2m Lotto jackpot will receive an extra €50,000 in interest because of the delay by the National Lottery in releasing the money, the Sunday Independent has learned.

A dispute followed presentation of the winning ticket, which was sold in the XL Stop and Shop on Stephen Street, Sligo, on March 5.

Following negotiations, and after considering High Court action, the winner says the matter is resolved after a decision by the National Lottery to pay interest on top of the €8,244,502 jackpot win.

A well-placed source said this figure was around €50,000 — bringing the total winnings to just under €8.3m.

Lotto bosses last night refused to give any details on why the money had not been paid out in the standard fashion.

In a statement, it confirmed it would provide an “update” once this prize money has been collected.

“As has always been the case, the National Lottery never comments on the specifics of individual claims to protect the privacy of the claimant,” it added.

As operator, Premier Lotteries Ireland has a right to withhold payment if it feels the claims procedure has not been strictly adhered to, or if it believes a ticket has been tampered with.

It was initially believed that the ticket involved in this win may have been the subject of a dispute within a syndicate or a family.

However, Athlone-based T&N McLynn Solicitors, acting on behalf of the winner, quickly moved to quash the speculation.

It said its client, who wishes to remain anonymous, was “disappointed” over media comments made by the Lottery authorities.

The statement also dismissed rumours that the money was not paid because a syndicate was owed as part of the winnings.

“Rumour and speculation has manifested in claims that the non-payment to date of the winnings is, amongst other things, due to a syndicate having some sort of an entitlement and an internal dispute arising therein.

“We can state that such claims are incorrect. There is no syndicate and there is no dispute. There never has been any dispute between the winner and any other third party,” it stated.

The solicitors said their client presented the relevant ticket to the Lottery authorities several weeks ago, but payment was not sanctioned due to a “concern”. This has since been addressed.

“It has always been our client’s contention that there was not any valid reason why Premier Lotteries Ireland, the licensed operator, would be unable to pay out to them on this winning ticket,” said the statement.

It added that while High Court action had been considered, the solicitors and their client “are now satisfied that the matter has been largely resolved”.

The statement claimed that the Lottery would pay out “the principal sum, together with appropriate interest” in due course.

Speaking to the Sunday Independent, Deirdre Farrell, of Amorys Solicitors in Dublin, pointed out that under Irish law the ticket would be deemed to be a contract between the National Lottery and the purchaser.

Applying fundamental principles of contract law, the rate of interest on late

payment of the winnings would need to be stated in the terms and conditions of the ticket, or else agreed specifically between the National Lottery and the ticket holder directly.

The other alternative is that the matter would be dealt with by the courts in litigation between the parties.

A court has discretion to award interest — currently at 8pc per annum — on the whole or any part of damages awarded from the date the cause of action accrued, to the date of judgement. 

However, she said for a court to award interest on that basis, the ticketholder would need to have succeeded in High Court proceedings.

Interest automatically applies on a judgement sum from the date of the judgement to the date the sum is eventually paid by the defendant.

Meanwhile, former mayor of Sligo Matt Lyons confirmed that he has received €15,000 from the National Lottery as his newsagents, Stop and Shop,  sold the winning ticket.

And while he remains “completely in the dark” as to the identity of the winner, it is now believed to be a person living locally.

“I don’t have a clue who the person is, and the Lottery won’t tell us,” Mr Lyons added.

It is not the first time the former councillor has hit the jackpot, having sold a €4m winning ticket in December 2009.

The winner of the €8,244,502 prize picked up a €20 Normal Play ticket on Saturday, March 5 — the day of the draw.

The winning numbers were 2, 8, 16, 24, 33, 42, and the bonus number was 47.

Sunday Independent

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