The Irish Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe, has confirmed that €16n of National Lottery historic expired unclaimed prize money will be used to support the health sector response to COVID-19.

The money, held in the National Lottery Fund, is to be transferred by the regulator to the exchequer. “I am pleased that the €16m of historic expired prizes has become available to support investments in health at a time of unprecedented national crisis due to COVID-19,” said the minister.

National Lottery CEO, Andrew Algeo added: “All of us at the National Lottery are delighted to see this €16m used to improve health in our communities.

“[Lottery operator] Premier Lotteries Ireland has been pleased to work together with the regulator to make these funds available at this time. Thanks to our players the National Lottery raised over €250m for thousands of good causes in 2019 and perhaps more than ever, plays a vital role in supporting clubs, charities and great causes across the country.”

Since the Irish National Lottery launched in 1987, more than €5.5bn has been raised for good causes in the country.