Lotto Winner Giving Away Money

What would you do with a fortune?

In common with just about everyone else in Ireland, I was astonished and impressed by Margaret Loughrey’s decision to give away most of her €34 million Euromillions  winnings.

Margaret, who until recently was living on social welfare of only €70 per week,  has already given away €17 million to people who need money, while keeping only €1.25 million for herself — not a huge sum for a 48-year-old woman with many years of life ahead.

margaret loughrey euromillions winner

There are no words to describe my admiration for this woman’s generosity, and yet I can’t avoid the question.  Is this the best way to benefit the largest number of people?  Is it the best way to benefit society?

Margaret has announced that she plans to invest €12.5 million  improving her native Strabane, an absolutely commendable objective.  This woman is the equivalent of whatever passes for a saint in today’s world, but already she’s run into administrative obstacles in trying to buy property in the town.

The question often crossed my mind as to what I’d do if I won a huge amount of money, although to be honest with you, the first thing I’d have to do is buy a ticket, and there I am falling at the first fence.  Some years ago, a local lady won €115 million in the Euro lottery.  €115 million!  Can you believe it?  €115 million!!  I bear the girl no animosity nor do I feel jealousy.   Well, I do feel jealousy, what am I saying?  But I don’t begrudge her the good luck of becoming super-rich.

Perhaps it was that win more than anything else that started me thinking.

Many years ago, an immensely wealthy surgeon, one of the owners of the  Blackrock Clinic won the Lotto, and then he won it a second time, as if he didn’t have enough money already.  That win didn’t fill me with good feelings towards the lucky punter, I have to say.  That win filled me with dark thoughts and evil mutterings, but I suppose it’s not every day that a super-rich surgeon wins the lottery twice.

It was when an ordinary local woman won such a vast amount that I began to ponder.  What would I do if I had such a huge sum at my disposal?

Would I give it away?

No.  I don’t believe I would.  A very large sum, whether it happens to be €34 million or €115 million, is not actually money.

An amount that large is more like a machine, capable of generating endless cash for the good of whatever projects you happen to support, and you don’t just break off bits of it and give them away.  Here, have the starter motor!  Of course I’d sort out the immediate problems like debts.  I’d make sure friends and family are unburdened by any worries and I’d invest in a few small luxuries, or even a few large luxuries.  But after that, I don’t think I’d be dismantling the money-machine when it has the possibility to do endless good forever more.

I think I’d set up some scholarships in areas close to my heart.  I might award a few bursaries for research and I’d probably create a large annual fund, awarded to the best plan  for projects to improve my town.  I’d give a sizeable  amount every year to whatever  official in a  government department or local authority shows the strongest commitment to dealing with people in plain English.

I’d set up an industry to employ all the neighbours who need work.

I’d fantasise about hiring the finest assassins in Eastern Europe.

I’d set up a world-class music venue.  I’d give you a grant for not spraying yourself orange and shouting in public.  I’d support an elite soccer school.  I’d fly.  I’d build a monorail. I’d hire an orchestra to play in the street.

I’d set up the best restaurant in the world and I’d make it cheap.  I’d buy phones for Ivor Callely.

There are many things I’d do with my €100 million winnings, but I wouldn’t just  give it all away because I’m probably not as generous as Margaret Loughrey.  I just think that kind of money could do more good for everyone if it stayed in one piece.

What would you do?




11 thoughts on “Lotto Winner Giving Away Money

  1. The sheer size of the winnings probably creates problems – how would your friends now regard you? If you spent it on extravagant stuff, would you isolate yourself from your community?

    Back in the 90s, in the North, I knew an old man who lived with his daughter and son in law in a council house they had bought.They won £3 million Sterling on the Lottery – they built a new porch on the front of the house, their housing estate was on a very exposed hillside, and, I think, bought a new car.

    For most people a win of €100,000 or so would change their lives – enough to clear their mortgage so they had money in their pockets each month.

  2. The Indo estimated that Dolores’ winnings would earn her 7 million euros in interest every year in the bank. I’d like to establish an arts/bohemian quarter in Limerick. Temple Bar without the pubs. Set up a local radio station that played and supported mostly local bands. Also in conjunction with one of the local colleges, I’d establish a Film /Television/Theatre/Radio college in the area. Set up an art house cinema run by students. Buy shop units and rent them out for next to nothing to local fashion designers and other specialized retailers.

  3. There are a few organisations who specialise in microcredit in poorer countries – give a kickstart to people with an idea who haven’t a bean to get their businesses going with a no interest loan. The whole thing could be pretty much self sustaining (apart from the odd failure) with most of the money coming back to go out again.

    Even if you’ve a few quid doing nothing you can get businesses going for people who otherwise haven’t a hope in hell. With a multi million lotto win, (tens) of thousands of lives could be improved immeasurably in this way.

  4. I wouldn’t count the money – I’d pay a bean counter to do that. She can give money directly to households she knows need some money. She could also set up a trust, with locals and one distinguished trustworthy outsider, to invest in self sustaining industries.

  5. Firstly I would have to buy a ticket as you suggested.
    Secondly I wouldn’t tell anyone, not even my nearest and dearest but I would find delicious secret means to surprise and amaze them.
    I would set up 2 centres of excellence for causes close to my heart and employ people with passion drive and a profane sense of humour.
    An amazing animal shelter would be high on my list then a wait and see who needs what.
    I might buy a tractor but probably change very little about my own life.
    I would probably get rid of it while still alive though…..and build a hut on a high hill !

  6. I’d certainly do lot of the things you list, and maybe a few more, at least I think I would.


    My fear would be the hassle that would befall me in terms of the beggars of this world (and I don’t necessarily mean poor people).

    I know one person who won just under a million, and her life was almost ruined by people (some probably genuine) chasing her for hand-outs.


    The very first thing I would do is hire somebody very professional, who would completely screen me from any publicity, and then proceed with my idea of wealth distrubution.

    If only….

  7. @Shaux…can’t help but think of ‘The Count’ on Sesame St……One !. ah ha ha ..and nice sentiments Mr. Bock .

  8. I think that the lady’s generosity is remarkable and commendable but I do think that she should have kept her identity anonymous. Did she not have that option?

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