Thursday 19 September 2019

'I've never heard of him,' says MP leftmoney by Sinn Féin's mystery donor

Mystery: Labour MP Dennis Skinner was bequeathed £1,000. Photo: Peter Summers/Getty Images
Mystery: Labour MP Dennis Skinner was bequeathed £1,000. Photo: Peter Summers/Getty Images
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

A British politician who was named as a beneficiary in the will of William E Hampton - who also left at least £1.5m (€1.65m) to Sinn Féin - says he has "never heard of him".

High-profile Labour MP Dennis Skinner was bequeathed £1,000 but insisted he has not received any money.

When Mr Hampton died in January 2018, aged 82, at a nursing home in Wales, the former mechanic left an estate of almost £2.6m, which included assets in Ireland, England, Singapore and New Zealand.

The bulk of this was left to Sinn Féin, which has faced questions from rival parties here on the circumstances of the donation and what the money will be used for.

Mr Hampton, who was unmarried and had no children, wrote in his will that he was bequeathing £1,000 to Mr Skinner with an address at Houses of Parliament, London, "for his own use and benefit absolutely".

However, Mr Skinner was unaware of the story surrounding Mr Hampton's will.

"I've not received any money from any will whatsoever," he said. "I've never heard of him."

Mr Hampton was living in a mobile home in Ireland and was said to be "of no fixed abode" when he left the money to Sinn Féin with sums totalling £8,000 (€7,250) for other beneficiaries.

The executors and trustees of his will were Joe Cahill and Dessie Mackin, who were Sinn Féin's national treasurers in 1997.

It is understood he inherited the money from his father, who ran a transport business called Hamptons in London.

When his father sold the business and later died, Mr Hampton and his sister were the only beneficiaries.

Sinn Féin may get further donations from the will, as there is more than £1m still unaccounted for.

Fianna Fáil TD Niall Collins has called on Sinn Féin to outline Mr Hampton's links to the party "in the interests of transparency".

Fine Gael Senator James Reilly urged Sinn Féin to return the donation. He said it would break Irish political spending laws if any of the money was used in the south and Sinn Féin should confirm that none of it will be spent here.

Irish Independent

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