Taoiseach accepts state responsibility for historic cruelty as Catholic primate acknowledges ‘painful truths’

The Irish state and Ireland’s Catholic church have made landmark apologies for running and enabling a network of religious institutions that abused and shamed unmarried mothers and their children for much of the 20th century.

The taoiseach, Micheál Martin, led government figures on Wednesday in accepting responsibility and expressing remorse for mother-and-baby homes that turned generations of vulnerable women and infants into outcasts.

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