Taoiseach Helps National Lottery Celebrate

National Lottery 30th Birthday

An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was on hand to help National Lottery celebrate its 30th birthday and Good Cause milestone in an extended special mid-week Lotto draw on RTÉ ONE on August 2nd.

Mr Varadkar announced that the National Lottery has raised a landmark €5 Billion for Good Causes all over Ireland in the last 30 years, making a crucial positive impact on life in communities and organisations right across the country. As part of the celebrations, National Lottery was also featured on Nationwide earlier in the evening and the #LotteryBig30 birthday celebrations then continued on Facebook Live

Speaking before the start of the draw Mr Varadkar spoke of the special place the National Lottery holds in Irish society, having been set up by the Government in 1987 with the express purpose of raising funds for good causes in the areas of health, sport, arts and heritage, youth and the environment. That includes financial support for sports clubs, disability, local social and health services, artistic projects, and the Irish language. 30c in every euro spent on the Lottery goes back to Good Causes.


“Thousands of communities, individuals and organisations have benefited from National Lottery funding over the last three decades and I am delighted to be here tonight to celebrate and to mark this milestone.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            - An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar


The audience for the draw, presented by Nuala Carey,  included Good Cause beneficiaries, senior RTÉ personnel including the RTÉ Director General, Dee Forbes and the Chair of the RTÉ Authority, Moya Doherty, personalities associated with the National Lottery over the years, retailers past and present National Lottery staff.

National Lottery CEO, Dermot Griffin, said generating funds for deserving causes in society has been the guiding principle for all National Lottery’s activities over its lifetime.

The National Lottery will continue to adapt and change to ensure that it the remains relevant to society and, in doing so, gain sales in a responsible manner and increase returns to Good Causes. In recent times the organisation has invested heavily in technology, both in-store and online, so that players can have the best possible modern user experience.


“To reflect the changing times today more than 700,000 National Lottery Apps have been downloaded and we have more than 380,000 registered players online.“

                                                                                                                                   - Dermot Griffin, CEO National Lottery


In 2016 €210 million euro raised for Good Causes equates to:

  • 550 multi-purpose all weather pitches or 7,500 mini buses – the tools needed to foster grassroots sport of all types;
  • 1.680.000 wheelchair accessible ramps or 700,000 self-propelled wheelchairs – providing mobility and independence for those who require it;
  • 175,000 defibrillators – enabling everyday heroes in local communities when an emergency demands it.


The National Lottery in numbers

  • More than 800 prizes in excess of €1million have been paid out by the National Lottery in the last 30 years.
  • €5 Billion has been raised for Good Causes, supporting projects in the areas of health, sport, arts, heritage, welfare and the environment.
  • 1,728 players have won the Lotto jackpot.
  • 11 Irish players have won the EuroMillions Jackpot.
  •  In total €1 €Billion has been won by Irish EuroMillions players since 2004
  • There are now more than 700,000 IOS and Android National Lottery Apps downloaded in Ireland making it one of the most downloaded Apps in the country
  • There are 380,000 registered on line players
  • There are approximately 5,000 retailers selling National Lottery products in Ireland


The €5 Billion in Good Causes monies raised is the equivalent of funding:

  • Over 17 Croke Park Stadiums
  • Training 131,578 Guide Dogs.
  • Supplying 4.2 million Defibrillators.
  • Providing 100,000 mobility modified minibusses.
  • Distributing over 16 million self-propelled wheelchairs.
  • 200 million footballs.
  • Since 1987, National Lottery funded Olympic Athletes have won 18 Olympic medals.

Last year alone……….

  • 895 local sports projects were awarded over €45 million.
  • Arts projects nationwide received over €78 million in funding.
  • The National Lottery fund contributed over €2 million towards Irish language support schemes.
  • Over €7 million in National Lottery funding was awarded by the HSE & Department of Health.



  • History was made in 1989 when Rita Power from Co. Galway became Ireland’s first Lotto millionaire. Since then, in excess of 800 €1million plus prizes have been paid out by the National Lottery.
  • In 2005, Dolores McNamara smashed National Lotter records to become the biggest ever jackpot winner. Lucky Dolores won over €115 million in the EuroMillions jackpot.
  • The Dan Morrissey Syndicate of 15 work colleagues from Co. Carlow won the largest Lotto jackpot prize of €18.9 million in 2008.


Top 10 Lotto Wins

1: 28 June 2008 - €18,963,441

  • One winning ticket
  • Dan Morrissey Syndicate, Carlow
  • Selling Shop: Hegartys Staplestown Road, Carlow

2: 14 April 2010 - €16,717,717

  • One winning ticket - Waterford couple
  • Selling Shop: Easons, Dungarvan S.C., Dungarvan, Waterford

3: 23 October 2010 - €16,390,239

  • One winning ticket - Dublin man sharing with his family
  • Selling Shop: Donnybrook Fair, 89 Morehampton Road, Donnybrook Dublin 4

4: 28 July 2007 - €16,185,749

  • One winning ticket - The Cunningham Family, Fairhill, Cork City
  • Selling Shop: Centra, 23/25 Close Road, Farranree, Cork

5: 26 April 2008 - €15,658,143

  • One winning ticket - Family from Dublin  
  • Selling Shop: Rowlagh News, Unit 4, Chaplins Place, Clondalkin Dublin 22

6: 12 March 2008 - €14,543,033

  • One winning ticket - group of two from Co Kildare
  • Selling Shop: Tesco  Ireland Cork Road, Newbridge Kildare

7: 18 April 2009 - €14, 530,193

  • One winning ticket – a couple from Glenageary, Co Dublin
  • Selling Shop: Spar, Glenageary S.C., Glenageary,  Dublin

8: 23 January 2016 -  €13,793,435

  • One Winning Ticket - Mayo family syndicate
  • Selling Shop: Carey's Main Street Belmullet Co Mayo
  • 9: 22 December 2007 -  €13,295,379

Good Causes benefit from the sale of all National Lottery games

To date the National Lottery has raised over €5.5 billion for good causes. This level of funding has made a significant difference to communities, projects and individuals in the areas of Youth, Sports, Recreation, Amenities, Health, Welfare, Arts, Culture, National Heritage and the Irish Language.