THE exhaustive search to find the country’s latest multi millionaire continues unabated around Abbeyleix!
Nobody has yet emerged to claim the massive €8.6million lotto jackpot after the winning €8 QuickPick ticket was sold in Moran’s.
When news of the Abbeyleix purchase was confirmed by National Lottery headquarters early last Thursday morning the media spotlight immediately descended on the town.
And the mystery surrounding the identity of the winner has since fuelled much speculatuion and dominated conversation on the streets and in business premises.
“Nobody is coming forward to claim the prize and would you blame them?,” suggested Geraldine Palmer of The Flower House, next door to Moran’s.
“I don’t know what the interest penalty is by delaying claiming the €8.6m. I suppose with burglaries on the increase there is an element of don’t let anybody know either.”
She added, “You meet people on the street and there asking ‘give us a loan!’ I hope it is someone local and some of the money might circulate. I hope I’ll be presenting a bunch of flowers to the winner anyway!”
The customers in nearby Morrissey’s pub were having the craic on Friday afternoon and enjoying their ‘black’ champagne. But if they knew the holder of the winning ticket they were remaining tight lipped.
“Shur it could be anyone. We’ve been inundated with media enquiries,” explained Mary Kirwan.
As she continued to serve the upbeat locals and the hungry and thirsty revellers who stopped off en-route to Stradbally for the Electric Picnic, Mary added, “There was great banter here last night between customers and journalists. Whoever the winner might be I just hope they are local.”
Michael McDonnell of McDonnell’s hardware store didn’t know of a winner either. “I hope it is somebody local and it makes their life and doesn’t break it. Having said that, it could be somebody passing through.”
He continued, “I get calls from different people – well what are you going to with it? And I reply ‘I’m afraid you’ve the wrong shop’. But I do hope it is somebody genuinely decent, and not some miserable hoor who would bank it and not share it with his family.”
Stan Fyffe revealed, “I think we all thought we had won it. I had a ticket bought that I checked fairly quickly. I’m happy for Moran’s because they provide a service for the town and they’ll obviously get some benefit from it.”
As he was busy dealing with customers getting ready for back to school, Stan added, “The only thing I hope is that the winner is someone who needs it and that it doesn’t ruin their life. It is important they get good financial advice and don’t do anything too rash.”
He expressed delight about the positivity generated for Abbeyleix by the story. “There is a lot of negativity out there. There is a lot of crime, our Garda Station has been downgraded and Mr Reilly is talking about closing our hospital. But it is nice to have a positive story to focus on.”
Butcher Andy Sheil who has been in business over 35 years explained, “Everyone is asking questions. I didn’t win it myself and shur people are only guessing aren’t they? I don’t know what I’d do if I won that sort of money but I’d find something!”