The Belfast Newsletter this week revealed that the single biggest donor to a Northern Irish political party left Sinn Féin £2.5 million in his will.

William Edward Hampton died in a Welsh nursing home in January 2018. The former car mechanic and driver made his will, which has now been made public, in 1997, a month before the IRA ceasefire. He named Joe Cahill and Dessie Mackin as its executors, both figures in the IRA. At the time the will was made, they were Sinn Féin’s treasurers. However, the only surviving signatory is a legal secretary, Carmel Brady.

His will referred to him as being “of no fixed abode” and living in a mobile home in Ireland, although it gave addresses in Cambridgeshire and Durrus, Co Cork.

Administering an intestate estate? Finders International’s missing will service can help with our thorough and inexpensive, insurance-approved service.

Assets in England, New Zealand and Singapore

When the donation was originally reported, it was thought the party had received £1.5 million in two instalments following Mr Hampton’s death. But the probate documents revealed his total assets came to almost £2.6 million as he held significant assets in England, New Zealand, Singapore and elsewhere. Once the legal expenses and payments have been deducted, the estate is likely to be worth £2.5 million.

The Belfast Newsletter reports that the Electoral Commission has no concerns about the money or any intention to launch an investigation. But Jim Allister, the leader of the Traditional Unionist Voice, has writen to the director general of the National Crime Agency to ask if the agency is “satisfied there is nothing untoward in respect of the aforesaid enrichment of Sinn Fein” because of the “inextricable” link between the IRA and Sinn Féin at the time the will was made.

The biggest previous single known donation to a political party in Northern Ireland was £435,000 given to the DUP in 2016 to promote Brexit.

Wealthy family

When the Newsletter asked Sinn Féin what it had done to confirm the donation was legitimate, the party said Mr Hampton came from a wealthy family and that due diligence in accordance with the rules of the Electoral Commission had been carried out.

Mr Hampton’s will—which only included £8,000 gifts to individuals—included instructions for what Sinn Féin should do with his assets. They are to cover election expenses, fund Sinn Féin offices and advice centres, and help republican prisoners and their families in Ireland and Britain. He also set out detailed instructions about what should happen if Sinn Féin split—the money to go to whatever party Gerry Adams belonged to.

According to the Electoral Commission, political parties need to report all donations and loans over £7,500 if given to the central party.

Finders International trace missing heirs to estates, properties and assets. For more information, please visit our website.  Alternatively, you can call us on +353 (0)1 5676940 or email us at [email protected]