Sunday 19 January 2020

It's no April Fool's joke -- but takeaway worker can't believe €5.7m Lotto luck

Giustina Macari embraces
Aisling Boland, the seller of
her winning ticket
Giustina Macari embraces Aisling Boland, the seller of her winning ticket
Giustina Macari, the new Lotto millionaire from Kildare town, with her mum Gina, and dad Alex

Edel O'Connell

THE chips certainly weren't down for takeaway worker Giustina Macari after she became the country's newest multi-millionaire.

Giustina (32) from Kildare town, who works at the family takeaway, says she can now retire from the world of chip fat and burger buns after scooping a whopping €5.7million in Saturday night's Lotto jackpot draw.

Ms Macari was one of two lucky winners who shared in the biggest rollover Lotto jackpot prize of the year to date -- €11,526,001.

The other ticket was sold in Bettystown, Co Meath -- the identity of the second winner is still unknown.

Joke

Ms Macari said she could not believe her luck when her numbers came up on Saturday night after purchasing a €10 Lotto ticket.

Giustina, whose Italian family are very well known in Kildare where they run two takeaways, said as yesterday was April Fool's Day she was still waiting for someone to tell her it was all a big joke.

"It is really hard to take in. I can't actually believe it, I keep expecting someone to say it is an April Fool's and I haven't won anything," she said.

Giustina said she usually buys a lottery ticket twice a week on a Wednesday and a Saturday in Malone's newsagent which is situated directly across the road from the family business.

"I picked the numbers randomly. I've never had any kind of system. I just looked up at the sky and picked the numbers," she said.

The delighted multi-millionaire, who is in a relationship, joked that although she is "old enough to retire now" she still has "plenty of life left in her".

Giustina says she doesn't know as yet what she will spend her fortune on but as she has always loved horses she plans to seriously indulge her interest.

"I absolutely love horses, so I will definitely use the money to pursue my passion, but I just haven't come down off the clouds enough yet to think about what else I might do. I am still processing it," she said.

There were major celebrations in Macari's in Claregate Street in Kildare last night as news spread like wildfire that a local woman was a Lotto winner. "I wasn't really going to tell a lot of people but I think as soon as we posed for photographs outside the newsagents the cat was pretty much out of the bag. It is total chaos in here now, there are people everywhere!" she said.

"The newsagent Louis Hennessy was literally crying with joy. He said he really wanted it to be a local person," she added.

Mr Hennessy said he thought someone was playing an April Fool's joke on him when he got a call yesterday informing him that he had sold one of two winning National Lottery tickets worth close to €6m each.

The winning numbers were 6, 11, 19, 23, 32, 41 and bonus 16.

The newsagency dates back to 1864 and it is the largest win it has witnessed since it began selling lottery tickets 25 years ago.

Meanwhile, Stephen Barriscale, manager of the local Tesco supermarket on Eastham Road in Bettystown, Co Meath, said the store was buzzing yesterday after learning that the other winning ticket, a €6 ticket bought on Saturday, was sold there.

However, the identity of the latest Lotto millionaire remained a closely guarded secret yesterday.

"There's quite a buzz around the place," he said.

"But it could be anyone. There are a lot of caravan parks around here so we don't know but it's great for the store and the area," he added.

The jackpot was the largest so far this year after rolling over 12 times without a winner.

Both newsagents will also get their own little windfall from the National Lottery for selling the winning tickets and will each receive a cheque for €7,500.

Irish Independent

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