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€2.6m Lotto joy for family who fell victim to slump

A YOUNG couple and their six-year-old daughter were due to arrive at the Lotto headquarters this morning to collect a cheque that has made them Ireland's newest millionaires.

Stephanie Ferguson from Buncrana, County Donegal, and her husband Graham Doherty travelled to the capital with their daughter Aoibheann yesterday evening to collect their €2.6m plus winnings.

And Lady Luck could not have smiled on the family at a better time after Graham was forced to close his plastering business last year because of the collapse of the building industry.

Stephanie, who works as an optician's receptionist, was out walking yesterday morning when she received a telephone call from her mother telling her the winning ticket was sold at Mac's Newsagents on the Main Street.

"She just took her time and checked her numbers when she got home and, lo and behold, she had the winning ticket. She was just over the moon," said her brother Stephen. "They were struggling so this is going to be great for them."

Yesterday friends and family celebrated in the small town in the Inishowen peninsula where unemployment has hit hard.

Buncrana suffered a huge blow, first with the closure of clothing giant Fruit of the Loom, which employed over 1,000 people, and more recently with the building bust which has left hundreds of young men out of work.


The town has also suffered from the proximity to the Derry border where lower VAT rates have been luring shoppers.

"For once it is a good news story for Buncrana and we are all delighted," said town councillor Peter McLaughlin.

In a strange twist of fate, five years ago, two winning €1m tickets for a €3m Lotto jackpot were sold in shops in Buncrana.