By Eoin English and Conor Kane
The country’s latest EuroMillions jackpot winners won’t have too far to go to realise their ‘room to improve’ dreams.
A staff syndicate at Stakelums Home and Hardware store in Thurles, Co Tipperary, is celebrating after winning the €17.4m jackpot in Tuesday’s draw.
The 32-person syndicate at the store, where up to 70 people are employed, will each collect €543,000.
And some of their builder and painter customers joked yesterday that the windfall could lead to a surge in work for them locally.
“It’s a nice amount of money to win. It will certainly pay a lot of bills and make life a lot easier,” store manager and syndicate member Joe Connolly said.
However, their celebrations have been tinged with sadness following the death of the father of one member of the syndicate.
While the group has contacted Lottery HQ, they plan to wait until next week to collect their winnings.
Mr Connolly said the syndicate in the family-run business has been playing the Lotto for about 25 years, with some turnover in members over the years.
One member of the syndicate has worked in Stakelums for about 40 years, while another only joined the syndicate six months ago.
It is understood the group also includes three former staff members who continued to contribute about €4 each per week to play the Lotto.
The management of the syndicate was overseen by the business’s financial controller, Ger Sammon.
And it was Mr Sammon who checked the numbers on Tuesday night and realised they had hit the jackpot and broke the news.
Mr Connolly said they had to contact some syndicate members who were overseas on holidays.
"They didn’t believe me until I put Ger on the phone.
“Builders and painters have been in and out to us today joking that there could be a lot of work coming their way.
"But we are conscious of our colleagues who are not in the syndicate. And there is a bittersweet feeling given that one of our staff members has had a bereavement.”
The winning ticket was sold in Eason in Thurles shopping centre eight months after it sold a €7.5m Lotto ticket winner.