Ireland’s 10th ever EuroMillions jackpot winners have made contact with National Lottery HQ after scooping €88.5m in Tuesday’s draw, and can look forward to collecting the money from next week.
They will be doing well to keep that a secret if yesterday is anything to go by, with fervent rumours as to the possible identity of the winners, amid strong suspicion it is a syndicate with as many as 34 members.
The focus narrowed to two locations close to each other on the outskirts of Cork City: Fitzpatrick’s shop and bakery in the village of Glounthaune, and Janssen Pharmaceutical in nearby Little Island.
Speaking on RTÉ radio’s Ray D’Arcy programme, National Lottery CEO Dermot Griffin appeared to hint it was indeed a syndicate which secured the third largest EuroMillions jackpot ever won in Ireland.
“It’s rarely one individual, it’s normally a family or a syndicate of some type,” he said, confirming that the winners had contacted Lottery headquarters.
The winners have 90 days in which to claim their prize, although the money won’t actually be in Dublin until next week, as it has to be gathered from the other participant countries.
Calls to Janssen Pharmaceutical, a Johnson & Johnson company, didn’t shed any light on whether or not the winners were among its 1,000-strong workforce. By mid-afternoon the man answering the phone was understandably weary with having to field the same requests over and over again.
Other pharma companies denied they had any winners among their workforce. “They must be the best actors this side of Mississippi if they’ve won and they’re still in here today,” said one.
Mr Griffin said he knew where the winning ticket was sold, but at Fitzpatrick’s, they were still unsure, but hopeful. Manager Kerri O’Neill said it would be “fantastic” if a local company had won. Her shop provides Saturday catering to some of them and she said: “There’s a great buzz around the place.” Staff and customers were certainly feeling it. “It’s been mad in here since 10 o’clock this morning,” said one worker, while a customer was told: “You’ll have the RTÉ news on record tonight!”
In the Great O’Neill pub next door, no-one had been ordering any Midleton Extra Rare to celebrate. Back outside the shop, local woman Virginia Savage said she had heard the rumours of a syndicate. “It’s too much for one person,” she said. “Let’s hope it’s locals who’ve won it.”