Since the beginning of the soap in 1989, Fair City has tackled many themes including racism, murder and infedility.
Racism was shown between 2005 and 2006 when the Nigerian Udenze family moved to Carrigstown. They were quickly targeted by Pete Flanagan and Morgan Dalton. They bullied Gabriel's teenage son Joshua and often graffitied the shop they owned. One night, seeing Joshua alone, the pair dragged him to the ground and urinated on him. Joshua feeling furious and humiliated got back at them by scratching the paintwork on Pete's car. Pete and Morgan then set Gabriel's van on fire and threw lighted papers into the house. Gabriel was asleep inside and the house was instantly set in flames. Gabriel died of smoke inhalation. Pete and Morgan were later caught on CCTV and arrested. In 2007 it was revealed that Morgan committed suicide in prison. The Udenze family moved back to London.
An Illegal adoption storyline involving many characters and spanning several years was shown in Fair City. It began in 2005 when Deirdre Burke had a one night stand with Brendan Daly. Deirdre became pregnant but was lonely. Jo Fahey took pity on her and became a close friend to her and helped her through the pregnancy. When Brendan found out she was pregnant he gave her money and told her to leave the country as he didn't want his wife Heather finding out about it. When the baby was born she named him Benjamin. She left him at the Fahey's for them to mind but when she never came back it became obvious that she had fled the country. They later found a note from Deirdre saying she put Dermot down as Ben's father on the birth certificate. Although there were a few awkward questions from their friends, a facade was quickly created with Benjamin being their son. Unbeknownst to the Fahey's, Brendan was Ben's real dad and they invited Brendan and Heather around for Christmas dinner and became close to them. The Fahey's and Brendan were horrified when Deirdre showed up but she told Jo that she was happy with the situation and soon left. In 2007, Deirdre reurned again and began a relationship with Dermot's brother, Ken. Deirdre became pregnant with Ken's child but gave birth to a stillborn girl in January 2008. After this, Deirdre began to grieve and took Ben away from Dermot and Jo. After realising that Ben had grown to think of The Fahey's as his real parents, she handed him back. Not wanting this to happen again, Jo realised they would have to get a legal adoption. They learnt from Deirdre that Brendan is Ben's father and started balckmailing him. They got him to sign the adoption papers in return for them not to tell Heather of her husband's affair. They succeeded in this however, Heather eventually found out as did the media. Barry O'Hanlon published an article on the fiasco which eneded up ruining Dermot's career as a politician. By September 2008, Dermot was forced to resign. However their adoption for Benjamin is now legal.
On the outside the Phelan family looked perfectly normal. However Renee Phelan had a dark secret that she kept for many years, that her husband Christy didn't even know. Before she had met him, she had a baby girl but put her up for adoption. Her daughter, Heather Lyons soon arrived in Carrigstown to find her birth mother. While searching for her, she met her half brother Floyd Phelan and became attracted to him. They began a casual relationship but were both devastated when they realised that they were related. The Phelan family found out about the relationship and it was ended straight away. Floyd and Heather, however had fallen in love and were heartbroken to end their relationship. Heather went away for a while and returned back in Carrigstown married to Brendan Daly. When she became pregnant with her daughter, Eleanor, Floyd was heartbroken and left Carrigstown. In 2008, Floyd returned to Carrigstown. Heather was secretly happy that he was back but the whole family were shocked when Floyd revealed he was dying from Cancer. Heather and Floyd resumed their affair which was soon caught out. Heather left Brendan. Her Floyd announced they loved each other and moved into Robin Doyle's apartment. Although, Christy, Renee and Bob were appalled, they put on brave faces for Floyd but in no uncertain terms slated Heather. They all went for a family drink in McCoys but Floyd lost the feeling in his legs. Christy took him back to his house and made sure that he didn't move back in with Heather, although he let her visit him. Floyd was slowly losing his bodily functions. He made it outside and asked Brendan to euthanise him which he did. Floyd died on July 6. Heather was suspicious when she found out that he died in the company of Brendan and soon found out what he had done. Heather threatened to report Brendan to the medical board but he retaliated and told her that in return he'd report her to the Gardai for incest.