Donegal soft drinks company buying building plagued by fires and vandalism
Euromillions winner Margaret Loughrey looks set to sell the mill she bought with her £27million jackpot.
The 56-year-old Strabane woman purchased Herdman’s Mill in Sion Mills in 2014, but it has since been plagued by fires and vandalism.
But Donegal soft drinks firm Mulrines said it hoped to complete a deal for the listed building.
The complex dates back to 1835 and was spinning linen until the Herdman family ceased production in 2004.
Mulrines director Malachy Magee told the latest edition of Private Eye: “We hope to conclude a deal for the purchase in the near future.”
The firm has been reported as a likely buyer for almost a year, but this is the first time it has confirmed it intends to buy the site.
It was sold to Ms Loughrey for a reported £1m in July 2014 following her lottery win, which earned her the nickname ‘Maggie Millions’.
When she bought it, the site had been the scene of several fires — a problem that continued after the purchase.
Despite hopes of a much-needed cash investment by Ms Loughrey, relations with the sporting groups who used the facilities in the grounds of the mill quickly soured.
In September 2014, the lottery winner became embroiled in a row with Sion Mills Cricket Club, founded by the Herdman family in 1864, after locking them out of their pitch on the 60-acre grounds.
The team was subsequently forced to forfeit two home games for the first time in their 150-year history, ruining hopes that local ownership of the ground would secure its future.
The ground is famous for serving as the venue for Ireland’s win over the West Indies in 1969.
Ms Loughrey (56) has since come to an agreement with the cricket club to allow it to use the pitch again.
In 2016, a court ordered her to hand over part of the complex to the Sion
Mills Buildings Preservation Trust because of deterioration.
Speaking to Sunday Life in 2019, she said her lotto win had “sent her to hell and back”, even though she was unemployed and living on benefits when it happened.
“Money has brought me nothing but grief. It has destroyed my life,” she said.
“I have had six years of this. I don’t believe in religion, but if there is a hell, I have been in it. It has been that bad. I went down to five-and-a-half stone.”
Ms Loughrey also claimed that unnamed individuals had “stolen millions” from her over the years.
She said: “I regret winning the lottery, of course I do. I was a happy person before. I am a human being and all it has done is destroy my life.”
In 2015, she was ordered by a judge to complete 150 hours of community service after she was convicted of assaulting a taxi driver in Strabane in what a court heard was an alcohol-fuelled incident outside her home.