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Around Ireland Big winners in lotto

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Patrick Markey

Stan Cahill plays Santa for the kids at his local department store. He asks them what they want for presents and brings a little cheer into their lives.

But, reports the Examiner newspaper, the Dublin man got an early Christmas gift himself recently when he and 16 other members of a Bord na Móna syndicate scooped over a million pounds in a weekend lotto draw.

Cahill, who had been doubling as a Santa at Dunne’s Stores in Newbridge, had to take a day off to collect £58,823.53 — his share of the winnings.

His wife was there, too — collecting her own check for the same amount.

"I’ve been drinking champagne since 9 this morning," she said at the lottery headquarters on Dublin’s Lower Abbey Street.

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"When I went down to the hairdresser’s this morning, they had a big banner over the shop saying ‘Congratulations, Nancy.’ "

The couple plan to use their winnings to visit their son in Australia.

Rita Timmons, who runs the syndicate, said it was started nine years ago by five women in the company canteen. When the syndicate reached 17, it was decided not to take any new members.

On Saturday, Timmons picked up the remote and called up the lottery numbers page on the teletext. After carefully checking the numbers, she told her husband they had five numbers. "Don’t ring anyone," he told her, "until you treble check it." She discovered she’d been wrong — they had all six.

Hanging giant

It’s in the Guinness Book of Records under the section labeled the largest free-hanging stalactite in the world.

And now Clare County Council has decided to allow the public to see it, at last. But the decision is not without controversy.

The Irish Times reports that plans to develop Pol-an-Ionain cave — where the stalactite hangs — was recently given the go-ahead by Clare County Council.

John and Helen Browne have also granted planning permission by the council to develop a visitor center complete with a shop and restaurant.

Independent consultants had at first expressed concern about how vulnerable the stalactite was to dropping from the roof.

But the move to grant planning permission for the development was severely criticized yesterday by An Taisce and the Pol-an-Ionain Action Group.

Dermot McKinney, spokesman for the Pol-an-Ionain Action Group, said it was shocked that the council had granted permission.

"It is striking that the outside consultants commissioned by the council strongly recommended to the council that permission be refused," McKinney said. "It all leads us to believe that the great stal is now in serious danger as is this cave environment in general."

First discovered by a pot-holer in 1952, the stalactite is 150 feet underground. At the moment the cave is relatively inaccessible to the public. The stalactite can be seen only by pot-holers and cavers.

Surprise raid

Bank’s are meant as secure holdings for your money.

But one Dublin bank’s security was easily breached recently when a robber crawled through a window and made off with what was probably the easiest £250,000 he’d ever made.

The sneaky raid took place shortly the Ballyfermot Road bank closed for business. At 5 p.m. two raiders forced open a rear window and crawled inside. With the safe wide open, the staff were taken completely by surprise. It appears the men were able to walk to the safe and help themselves to a huge amount of cash.

One raider was believed armed. Escaping through the same window through which they entered, the robbers jumped on a motorbike and sped off. The bank’s alarm system was activated five minutes later.

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