Northern Ireland news

Sinn Féin gets further £0.5m from benefactor who 'never mentioned Irish politics'

Sinn Féin benefactor Billy Hampton

THE man responsible for giving Sinn Féin what is thought to be Northern Ireland's largest ever political donation "never even mentioned Irish politics", according to a friend.

Dave Morton said the late Billy Hampton, a former market trader, left his fortune to Sinn Féin "out of spite" and "to say 'up you' to the British establishment".

The remarks came as it emerged that Sinn Féin has received a further tranche of £500,000 from Mr Hampton, on top of the £1.5 million already pledged posthumously to the party.

The 82-year-old died in January last year in Pembrokeshire in Wales, where he was living in a nursing home. His ashes were later buried in west Belfast in a "solemn ceremony" attended by Gerry Adams.

Mr Hampton's gravestone in Hannahstown Cemetery reads: "True friend of Ireland. Remembered by his friends and comrades in Sinn Féin."

Billy Hampton' headstone in Hannahstown Cemetery. Picture by Mal McCann

According to the BBC, additional money has been paid to the party and is expected to be confirmed when the Electoral Commission publishes updated information on political donations at the end of the month.

Mr Morton told the broadcaster that Mr Hampton was unhappy during his life because he could not access all the inheritance he felt he was entitled in a single lump sum.

He had inherited money from his father, Ted, who had extensive business interests in Fenstanton, Cambridgeshire.

Mr Morton said the deceased man left his his own fortune to Sinn Féin "out of spite" and "to say 'up you' to the British establishment."

"He had a really wicked sense of humour and he would have thought that was funny," Mr Morton said.

"Basically no one helped him, and he got it into his head that the establishment was out to get him. He felt round every corner someone was watching him which they weren't."

According to Mr Morton, the Sinn Féin benefactor "never even mentioned Irish politics".

"All he said was when he was over in Ireland he generally had a good time," he said.

Billy Hampton's friend Dave Morton. Picture by BBC

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