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Lotto love Fine Gael TD who took on 'unwinnable' Lotto says he never anticipated the public interest

'It does show if you focus on a subject sufficiently and you get support from the wider community you can bring about change'

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Bernard Durkan, the TD who raised questions about the lack of Lotto winners in recent times, has said that he “never anticipated” the huge public interest.

It comes as the National Lottery ran a “must win” Lotto jackpot of €19 million on Saturday, Jan 15 which was won by a punter in Castlebar, Co. Mayo.

In November, the Fine Gael TD for Kildare North said “ Shergar would have a better chance at winning Squid Game.”

“This didn’t happen in Ronan Collins’ day,” he said in November.

Deputy Durkan was speaking after the biweekly lotto draw was rolled over on 46 separate occasions since it was last won on June 6.

“We need a full investigation and audit into the draw,” he added.

“I have never agreed with Premier Lotteries Ireland’s decision to increase the number of balls to 47. I’m old enough to remember 1986 when there were 36 balls and that’s how it should have stayed.”

Speaking to sundayworld.com he said: “It became a conduit for the people to ring up and send texts and emails, I never anticipated that there was going to be such interest in it.”

“It merely started off after the summer recess, because somebody said to me ‘where have all the winners gone?’ and I haven't paid attention to that beforehand and then I thought ‘why is that happening?’.”

“The first six months of the year there were five or six winners, then the door was closed and it didn't happen anymore,” he explained.

“The public interest was stirred, they wanted to know more about it and they became suspicious and like me, they did their own research.”

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Deputy Durkan said that the National Lottery implementing a must win draw shows that the public can influence change.

“It does show if you focus on a subject sufficiently and you get support from the wider community you can bring about change.”

“The National Lottery authority recognised that the question wasn’t going to go away, people were going to ask it again and again.”

[They also recognised] that it wasn’t tolerable to keep saying it was a game of chance, because the response to that is of course it’s a game of chance, but there has to be a chance of winning as well,” he said.

“The public came to the conclusion there was no chance of winning.”

Despite the jackpot being won, Bernard says there is a lot more that needs to be done to ensure the Lottery is fair.

“I’m not sure what needs to be achieved, has been achieved yet.”

“I would have thought that €19 million is a lot of money and it's a lot of money for a prize for one household.”

“You could make a lot more households happy, 20 even 40 households happy, with the sum of €1 million or €500,000 or whatever the case may be.”

“Even €50,000 would make a lot of households happy.”

The winners in Mayo can be rest assured that Bernard won’t be in touch for his cut however, when asked if he would be reaching out to them he laughed and said “No, I won’t.”

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