Portuguese lottery winners stay anonymous

DOLORES McNAMARA was celebrating last week after winning the biggest ever European lottery. The 50-year-old Irish mother of six, who won 115.4 million euros on a rollover jackpot, followed the example of recent British, French and Spanish winners by choosing not to remain anonymous.

Her willingness to accept publicity contrasts with five Portuguese gamblers who won first prize on Euro Milhões (Euro Millions) and chose to protect their identity. Portuguese psychologist, Luís Reto, highlights the reasons behind their decision: “Portugal is a country with a culture of envy. For this reason, people are scared to reveal their joy at winning. There is also a pervading culture of people wanting to keep a low profile as well as a fear of having to confront people begging for money.”

When Irish television announced the winning numbers last weekend, Dolores was among friends in The Track Bar in Garryowen, Limerick, where she is a regular customer. Waiter James McNamara (no relation!) said: “When the numbers were announced, Dolores asked a friend to verify her ticket. She did not believe she had won the jackpot because she had never had any luck in the past.” He also said other customers toasted her victory with champagne.

Various European winners have chosen not to protect their anonymity. In the UK, Marion Richardson, a 57-year-old divorcee and mother of five, won 25 million euros last April. In July last year, Iris Jeffrey from Belfast won 30 million euros. In December, Frenchman Jérôme Brun won 26.2 million euros and 42-year-old Spaniard, José Pascual Fuertes, scooped 20.6 million euros in March last year.