Lucky Lotto border store shuts up shop

punters flocked: O’Neills in Bridgend was second only to the GPO in Dublin in terms of winning lottery jackpot ticket sales
Seamus McKinney

A CO Donegal store which was Ireland’s second luckiest Lotto shop has shut its doors for the final time.

O’Neills Newsagents in Bridgend – also known simply as Bertie’s – was second only to Dublin’s GPO in terms of the number of jackpot winning Lotto tickets sold.

Owners Pearse and Siobhan O’Neill shut up shop for the final time on Saturday bringing to an end a business which was first opened by Mr O'Neill's father Bertie in 1953.

Just yards from the border, O’Neills was also known to thousands of visitors from the north who made it their first stop on the annual holiday to Donegal and the last stop on the trip home.

However, it was for the sale of jackpot winning lottery tickets that had punters flocking to O’Neill’s in recent years.

The shop sold 12 jackpot winning tickets since the launch of Lotto in 1988, bring in almost €5 million (£4.404m) for lucky winners, including Jim Hume, brother of former SDLP leader John, who won €1.2 million (£1.06m) in 2005.

Mr Hume said O’Neill's was always a very popular shop and was known for the service it provided as much as the winning Lotto tickets.

“But now that I hear that O’Neill’s is closing, it’s a very, very sad day,” he said.

Donegal County councillor John Ryan said the shop had become synonymous with Bridgend.

He wished the owners, Pearse and Siobhan O'Neill, "well in their retirement".

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