THE Government has rejected an Opposition call to deliver an immediate apology to the Magdalene Laundries survivors.
It voted in favour of its own motion to let Taoiseach Enda Kenny deal with the issue after next week's Dail debate.
Mr Kenny is expected to deliver a full apology for the State's role in admitting one quarter of the 10,000 women who ended up in the laundries.
Justice Minister Alan Shatter accused Fianna Fail of a "breathtaking level of opportunism and hypocrisy" for moving the apology motion when it had not tackled the issue during its time in Government.
And he attacked Sinn Fein for supporting the motion, saying it had only apologised for the 1996 murder of Det Gda Jerry McCabe when Det Gda Adrian Donohoe was killed last month.
The Government has come under fire for its slow response to the publication of former senator Martin McAleese's 1,000-page report into State involvement in the Magdalene Laundries.