Irish Republican party, Sinn Féin has received a further £800,000 in funding from the will of late Englishman, Billy Hampton. The man died in Wales in 2018 and made SF the main beneficiary of almost £3,000,000.
Hampton did leave some money to friends and acquaintances; however, the former mechanic was an unmarried man and never had any children. However, Hampton donated the majority to the Irish republican party, Sinn Féin as a protest against the political establishment. President of the party, Mary Lou McDonald, insisted the party had complied with Electoral Commission rules in accepting the donation.
Sinn Féin has received the amount in instalments, with £1.5million announced in September 2019, with a further £580,000 coming later in the year. The amount is said to be the largest donation given to a political party in Northern Ireland. McDonald paid tribute to Mr Hampton in 2019 by labelling him a “rebel with a cause”. Upon his death, Billy Hampton’s ashes were scattered in west Belfast.
The new £800,000 donation has been recorded as having been accepted by Sinn Fein on February 10th. Published by the Electoral Commission, the amount has been recorded in the latest round of figures on political party donations. There has been a total of six political parties registered in Northern Ireland who have reportedly accepted £1,070,999 in donations and public funds in the first quarter of 2021.
The Irish Times write that the figure represents almost 80% of the total sum received in donations by all of the political parties in the North, during the first quarter of 2021. Sinn Fein reportedly accepted £880,295, while the Alliance Party accepted £29,564 in donations, the DUP accepted £78,115, the Green Party accepted £12,173, the SDLP accepted £47,958 and the UUP accepted £22,894.
Head of the Electoral Commission in Northern Ireland, Cahir Hughes said the data has been published as an indication to voters. The important information is given to show voters how parties like Sinn Féin are being funded inn NI, in order to enhance public confidence and trust in democratic processes.