DEAR SIR: The recent disclosures in the High Court concerning the former CEO of Bóthar, David Maloney and his misappropriation of funds, will have come as great disappointment to us all who have supported the charity since its establishment in 1991.

Bóthar has received very generous support from the Irish farming community over the past 30 years with many families, schools, clubs, co-ops and prisons supplying animals and funds.

Its model of passing the offspring on to their neighbours resonated with farmers here and greatly assisted smallholder farmers to break free from the poverty trap.

During my time in Africa, I saw the benefits of this support to transition from subsistence to progressive farming at first hand.

Many board members of charity organisations give of their time voluntarily and that must be commended. No doubt there will be questions raised as to the level of governance undertaken here as it appears that the alleged mismanagement may have gone undetected for a number of years.

This case also highlights the responsibility that goes with accepting a position on a board and the need for scrutiny and accountability.

Aside from Bóthar, the group that is most affected by this debacle is smallholder farmers in the developing world. We should ensure they are not the victims. It would be a shame if we were to let the damage created by the alleged mismanagement tarnish all the work and efforts to assist those most in need of our assistance.