By Helen Riddell
RUMOURS were rife on Bere Island early Wednesday morning when news broke that the island’s postmistress Mary Murphy had sold a winning €500,000 EuroMillions Plus ticket the previous night.
With a population of just 180, suspicions are rife on the island.
When the news emerged of the win, there was lots of frantic ringing around and texting to check who might have recently bought a ticket from Rerrin Post Office.
Mary believes she sold the winning ticket some time over the past couple of days. ‘A small number of islanders regularly buy Lotto Plus from me, there’s not many visitors around at the moment, so it’s more than likely somebody local, which would be fantastic,’ she told The Southern Star.
Mary’s brother Brendan Murphy, who is the island postman, said he was fielding plenty of questions as he did his rounds on Wednesday.
‘Well it wasn’t me, and we don’t know yet who it is, but it’s great news for Bere Island and there’s a huge buzz about the place now.’
Officials from the National Lottery will visit the island later this week, along with a film crew from RTE, to mark the unique win. The sale of Lottery products was only introduced to the island in late 2016.
Mary has been running the island’s post office since 1978. ‘I finished my Leaving Cert on the Wednesday, and started work in the post office the following Monday.’
In 2010, the post office, which at the time was not automated, was threatened with closure. However, the islanders launched a campaign for the post office and collected over 1,000 signatures and received support from the then Minister for Rural Affairs Éamon Ó Cuív.
Mary is a lifelong Liverpool football supporter, and when asked what she’d do if she had the winning ticket, she replied: ‘I’d buy a Liverpool season ticket.’
The winning EuroMillions Plus numbers were: 5, 10, 41, 43 and 44. There was no winner of the €140m EuroMillions jackpot so this rolls onto a massive €155m for this Friday night’s draw.