Factory workers bag E870,000 each in fifth-largest Lotto win

Vivion Kilfeather

The 20-year-old Dublin man was one of eight young pet food factory workers with cat-who-got-the-cream smiles yesterday as they collected winnings of close to E1 million each.

But Mr Cooling had more reason to celebrate than the others. He had recently taken the place of a colleague who dropped out of the syndicate.

The jackpot was for just under E7m, the fifth-largest win in the history of the Lotto which began in 1988.

The eight winners have received just over E870,000 each.

Mr Cooling said he had only joined the syndicate four months ago after a fellow worker left.

The group were camera shy at first but after some gentle persuasion six of them agreed to be photographed.

The winners work for Merops Nutrition, a company which manufactures pet food on the Ballymount Road in Walkinstown, Dublin.

The syndicate was formed eight years ago. The winning numbers of 17, 21, 27, 38 and 42 with bonus number 11 were selected by the leader of the syndicate and the winning ticket was bought in Tesco’s of Ballyfermot last Thursday.

Stephen Doyle, in his early 20s, and from Inchicore said he would first buy a house for himself and his wife Susan and their two-year-old son Jamie. They are in rented accommodation.

Brian Cullen, 26, from Walkinstown, said first on his agenda was to take a little career break in Australia. He was in the syndicate for six years.

At this early stage he said he had not a clue what he would spend the money on but planned to donate some of it to Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin.

Michael Lacey, 23, Kimmage, said he only got into the syndicate when a fellow worker dropped out.

He didn’t know what he would do with the money but planned to go to Brazil for a holiday.

He joined the syndicate five years ago.

Mr Cooling who had only been in the syndicate for four months said he had no plans as yet and was just letting the whole big win sink in.

Graham Finnerty, leader of the syndicate, said he was still in shock and might take a few days off to take it all in.

It was only when he went home on Monday afternoon that he got the tickets out to check them to discover the win.

Having confirmed the win he rang all his colleagues to tell them the good news and they had a “few quiet drinks” to celebrate on Monday night, he said.

The most they had won before was a mere 100.

He said there were about 40 workers in the Walkinstown pet food factory.

He did not know at this stage what to do with the money as the whole thing had still not “sunk in”.

He was not thinking about leaving the job and had no intention of letting the win “go to my head” but might take a short career break.

Cecil Sheridan, 31, from Walkinstown, said the gigantic win had not sunk in with him yet either.

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