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Record Irish Lottery win offers escape from hard life

Jul 30, 2007, 9:21 am

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InternationalInternational: Record Irish Lottery win offers escape from hard life

The Cinderella-style magic of the Irish National Lottery was never more evident than on Cork's Bridevalley estate yesterday.

The huge €16 million (US $22.1 million) Lotto jackpot won by Paul and Helen Cunningham — and the dream lifestyle it can now offer them — stood in stark contrast to the everyday challenges facing people in this most tight-knit of northside communities.

Bridevalley is a proud area where everyone knows and watches out for everyone else — and locals are deeply protective of each other.


Along the estate yesterday, reporters and photographers received a wary greeting from neighbors who were determined to be as protective as possible of the Cunninghams, their good fortune and their desire for privacy.

Most queries about the family's dramatic good fortune were politely but firmly rebuffed with the most minimal of information exchanged — and those who were willing to comment only did so on the basis of anonymity.

Which is hardly surprising given that locals have largely had to depend on little more than themselves in an area that has endured its share of tough times over the past three decades.

It is the kind of place where the Celtic Tiger and its tales of vast consumer spending are little more than a distant rumor.

Fairhill, Farranree and other parts of Cork's north side have instead been forced to grapple with the social problems which have plagued modern Ireland.

These range from economic deprivation and unemployment though to spiraling related challenges such as drug abuse, joyriding and street crime.

Not far from Bridevalley lie the traditional routes taken by joyriders in the peak of the lethal craze in the 1990s, which led to three particular streets being dubbed "the Circuit of Death".

Few families in these communities have not been affected by such problems — and Saturday night's €16m jackpot offered the dream of a new life such as few middle-class areas could possibly understand. It offers a way out, the hope of a better life for entire families.

This area — like other parts of Cork's north side — has been cursed with unemployment since the first economic recession hit with a vengeance in the 1970s.

The loss of major Cork employers like Fords, Dunlop and Sunbeam resulted in some of the highest unemployment rates in Ireland.


One local politician, Dave McCarthy (Ind), said there were cases in the general area of families coping with unemployment into the third generation.

"For some people here, the biggest dream was getting through Christmas for their children without running up massive debts," he said.

Yesterday, Fairhill and Farranree celebrated the tremendous good fortune of one local family — not so much with envy as with joy that such luck should have visited their area.

Because of that, one family will now savor not only their own dreams but those of an entire community.


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1 comment. Last comment 13 years ago by Just6ntlc.
Page 1 of 1

United States
Member #16611
June 2, 2005
3493 Posts
Posted: August 2, 2007, 12:38 pm - IP Logged

I hope Mr. and Mrs. Cunningham doesn'thave financial problems later in life. In the Irish Lotto game, I wonder what were the winning numbers Mr. and Mrs. Cunningham choose to win the jackpot?