An inquiry in Northern Ireland has heard how young children from the Republic of Ireland were sometimes transferred to homes run by nuns in Derry and in one case moved to Australia under a migrant scheme.

The Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry is hearing about two homes run by the Nazareth sisters at Termonbacca and at Bishop Street in Derry.

In the early years the homes, catering for boys and girls, received no state funding and relied entirely on voluntary contributions.

Small numbers of nuns were involved in caring for hundreds of children.

Staffing was supplemented by older children, volunteers and former residents.

The nuns also ran an orphanage over the border at Fahan in Co Donegal and children were sometimes transferred between the jurisdictions.

According to Christine Smith, a senior counsel for the inquiry, in one case a child born in the Republic of Ireland was transferred to a home in Derry and later moved to Australia under a migrant scheme.

She said that allegations will be heard, dealing with accounts of physical and sexual abuse, of inadequate food, force feeding and of children who were separated from their siblings and not told of their existence. 

Earlier, Ms Quinn said delays by the Nazareth order in submitting evidence to the inquiry have caused considerable difficulties.

She said material given by the order was not properly ordered and was still being received up to last week.

Public hearings at the inquiry, which is based in Banbridge, Co Down, began two weeks ago.

The inquiry is examining allegations of child abuse in 13 children's homes and other residential institutions in Northern Ireland from 1922 to 1995.

During the period covered by the inquiry, the two Derry homes catered for over 2,000 children.

The inquiry will hear evidence from 47 people during this particular module, which is expected to last several weeks.

After an extensive advertising campaign, over 400 individuals contacted the inquiry, claiming they had been abused.

Chaired by retired High Court judge Sir Anthony Hart, the inquiry is due to provide a report on its findings to the Northern Ireland Executive in early 2016.