herald

Monday 25 September 2017

'I thought €29m lottery jackpot win was a prank', says shop owner

Umesh Kumar celebrates selling the winning ticket
Umesh Kumar celebrates selling the winning ticket
Umesh Kumar celebrates with shop staff member Pauline Brinklow

The owner of a shop in Co Mayo was celebrating yesterday after he discovered his store had sold the winning €29m EuroMillions ticket at the weekend.

Umesh Kumar, who will pocket in the region of €25,000 thanks to the win, runs Garryduff Stores on Pound Road, Castlebar.

''It is such great news. Since last night, when the Lotto people rang - I still cannot get over it. It's amazing news, it means a lot to me,'' he said.

"It gives the shop a great boost. It is just a local store in a big housing estate, so most of our customers are locals.

Boost

"So it will be a great boost and it means a lot to me. It will be a big advertisement for the shop and hopefully it will bring in more business.

"It is just unreal, I can't get my head around it.

''It is such a big amount and a big congratulations to whoever won it.

"I was away for the weekend and I came back. I thought it was a prank and I got the call and I thought, 'this is happening for real'."

He joked he had not seen anybody "acting differently" in recent days but is delighted for the winner.

Umesh is originally from India and came to Ireland in 2011.

He studied for an MBA in Dublin and he began to work with Eircom and a hotel, before he became a store manager in the shop. He bought the Castlebar store in 2013.

"Now I have more reasons to stay," he laughed.

A National Lottery spokesman said: "We want to give the winner time and space to make arrangements and to let the news sink in."

Local Councillor Michael Kilcoyne said he is over the moon for the mystery millionaire.

He said that the shop is off the main thoroughfare and serves some local residential areas and that "there's a good chance the winner is local''.

"Everybody's delighted," he added. "It'd be nice if it's a syndicate so it can be spread among a few people, but whoever it is I wish them the health to enjoy it."

Councillor Cyril Burke also said he is thrilled for the punter and admits he would not know how to spend the life-changing amount.

Massive

"You wouldn't know what to do with it. You'd want to be careful. I'd repay a few loans anyway," he said.

The winner will be able to collect the massive sum from today.

They have 90 days to collect their winnings, and the National Lottery spokesman explained that the money has to first be collected from the other countries involved in the lottery.

The latest win takes to more than €1bn the total amount in Irish EuroMillions wins since the game was launched in 2004.

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