Saturday 18 November 2017

Mystery Lotto winner keeps a low profile

Conor Kane

A COUPLE at the centre of the latest Lotto speculation last night refused to confirm or deny being the lucky €16.7m winners.

Margaret and Tom Whelan from outside Lemybrien, Co Waterford, returned home yesterday from a weekend away amid reports they and their family had a celebratory party last Wednesday night.

So far, the second-biggest jackpot in Irish Lotto history hasn't been claimed but the owner of the shop where the €6 quickpick ticket was sold -- Pat Whyte of Eason's in Dungarvan -- said last week that the winner had been in contact with him.

Mrs Whelan last night told the Irish Independent she had "no comment" to make on speculation that she and her husband were the new multi-millionaires.

Smiling broadly at her front door, she said their weekend away was "kind of planned" and she couldn't confirm being the Lotto winner. But when asked if they were planning any trips to Dublin soon, Mrs Whelan mysteriously replied: "We might be. . . And we might be going a bit further."

Husband Tom would only say "I wish" from inside the house when asked if he would like to confirm the speculation.

A spokesperson for the National Lottery yesterday said no one had yet been in contact to claim the €16.7m prize, but said staff were hoping to see the winners at Lottery headquarters over the coming days. Mr Whelan drives a sand-truck for Roadstone but the vehicle didn't move from the house over the weekend -- and wasn't showing any signs of being taken out for work yesterday.

Lottery spokesperson Paula McEvoy last night said the ticketholder has 90 days from the day of the draw to claim the prize. She said it wasn't unusual for big winners to wait. "With this amount of money, losing a couple of days' interest isn't going to bother whoever has won it," she said.

Irish Independent

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