DONATIONS from the public to aid agency GOAL slumped by more than 53pc last year as the charity became embroiled in an internal dispute that saw CEO John O'Shea step down.
An out-of-court settlement reached with Mr O'Shea, who founded the organisation, contributed to record losses of €4.9m.
However, the annual report does not disclose the amount paid out to Mr O'Shea.
This is in contrast to the approach taken by UNICEF Ireland in its 2011 annual report published last year, showing exceptional expenditure of €206,091.
A spokesman for GOAL did confirm that the retirement settlement with Mr O'Shea is included in the 2012 GOAL annual report.
But he added: "As the matter was resolved confidentially out of court, it is our intention to honour that agreement.
"Our auditors are satisfied that the settlement has been appropriately accounted for in the financial statements."
According to GOAL's annual report for 2012, donations from the public decreased from €8.1m to €3.8m and this came on top of a 45pc drop in donations in 2011.
The figures show that over 2012 and 2011, donations from the public have decreased a massive 72pc from €13.7m to €3.8m – nearly €10m.
Explaining the drop in donations, GOAL's directors' report states that "there were no major appeals for funds by GOAL in 2012 and this, coupled with the lengthening recession, is evident in the reduced level of voluntary and fundraising income received in 2012".
The spokesman declined to provide fundraising figures to date for 2013, but added "it would be fair to say that the fundraising environment is still very challenging".
The agency's largest donors last year were the Government's Irish Aid, which contributed €14.7m, and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) which contributed €11m.
The spokesman said that the main driver of the increased level of expenditure was its emergency humanitarian programme for refugees in Maban, South Sudan, that grew by 100pc to €14m; while the agency's humanitarian programme in Ethiopia expanded by 40pc to €14m.
The agency remains in robust financial health, with accumulated funds at the end of 2012 totalling €31.7m.
The agency's cash balance at the end of December had reduced from €26.9m to €19.2m.