STRABANE’S record-breaking Lotto winner Margaret Loughrey says she has been left “hurt and distressed” by the decision to section her in a psychiatric facility.
Ms Loughrey claims she is not mentally unstable and is to appeal her sectioning at Gransha Hospital in Derry.
Contacting the Strabane Chronicle this week, Ms Loughrey said she has decided to speak publicly about her situation because she wants to dispel local perceptions and rumours about her condition.
Ms Loughrey shot to fame in December last year after she scooped £27million on the Euromillions lottery. The win was the biggest ever jackpot in Northern Ireland.
The millionaire says allegations which suggest she is a danger to herself or to others are untrue and that is why she is appealing her detention.
Currently Ms Loughrey says she is patiently awaiting her appeal to be heard. And yet, she confirmed, this appeal could take up to six weeks to complete.
“They’re saying I’m mentally unstable and that I have been for the past 30 years,” Margaret Loughrey told this newspaper from Gransha Hospital. “If that was the case, why is there no record of me being treated for any mental illness, if I’ve been suffering for the past 30 years. Why now?
“I totally disagree with what has happened but no-one is listening to me. It seems there’s nothing I can do except sit here and wait it out until the appeal is heard,” she continued.
“But I want people to know that I feel fine, I am completely sane and I have a solicitor working on my appeal.”
Ms Loughrey’s solicitor has confirmed that the record Lotto winner is to appeal her sectioning at Gransha Hospital.
Speaking on Ms Loughrey’s behalf on Monday, her representative, Richard Gamble of Quigley, Grant and Kyle said that whilst client/lawyer confidentiality must be adhered to, he was able to substantiate the appeal.
“She (Ms Loughrey) has instructed our office to launch an appeal with the Mental Health Review Tribunal.”
It is understood however that appeals could take up to six weeks before they are heard.
The Western Health and Social Care Trust (Western Trust) said it could not comment on Ms Loughrey’s case.
“Respecting patient/client confidentiality the Trust does not comment on individual cases,” a spokesperson said. “If a patient or their relative has any issue in relation to their treatment we would encourage them to raise these issues through the Trust’s comments and complaints system – the Patients’ Advocate Office. The Patients’ Advocate Office can be contacted on (028) 7161 1226. All complaints received are investigated promptly and a response issued to the person making the complaint as soon as possible.”