The Taoiseach has said that the Minister for Justice will present a memo to the Government as soon as possible concerning yesterday's United Nations report into the Magdalene Laundries.

The report recommended that the Government should set up a statutory investigation into allegations of torture of women at the institutions.

In the Dáil today, Sinn Féin's Mary Lou McDonald said now is the time for women to get an apology, an acknowledgement and compensation.

Ms McDonald said that the State had failed these women and asked when the Government would act on the UN's recommendations.

She said that the women were prisoners in the laundries.

The Taoiseach said that the Government was entitled to take time out to study the report and said the laundries were not 'state run institutions' in the way the Sinn Féin TD made out.

Earlier, Minister for Justice Alan Shatter has said that he has been preparing proposals for the Government on the question of Magdalene laundries.

Minister Shatter said that his proposals were substantially completed last week and a draft Memorandum for Government had been prepared.

The Minister has said that the memo has been circulated for consideration by his Cabinet colleagues at the next appropriate Government meeting either on 14 June or if that is not possible, the meeting the following week.

Mr Shatter said that the issue affects a number of Departments and he cannot make any comments that would prejudge the Cabinet's decision on the matter.

The Department has said that it would be premature for the Minister to appear on any programme before the Government has made its decision on the matter.