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During the last few decades there has been acknowledgement of how unmarried mothers and their children who were placed in the care of the state were mistreated and sometimes abused within Church-run institutions, writes Bryan Fanning, Professor of Migration and Social Policy at University College Dublin.
To a considerable extent this abuse was made possible by the stigma then attached to sex outside marriage. Efforts to hide unwanted women and their children away from society created a climate in which abuse could take place and be covered up.
Some women whose children were placed in care had relationships with African men, some of whom came to Ireland as medical students.
The children born of relationships between African men and Irish women experienced not just the stigma experienced by other unmarried mothers but also extreme racism.
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