They are demonstrating against lower pay rates for teachers employed since 2011

Teachers around the country are holding a lunchtime protest today over pay inequality.

The action by members of the Teachers' Union of Ireland (TUI) is in protest at lower pay rates for newly qualified teachers since 2011.

The union claims pay inequality in the profession means schools are finding it hard to recruit new teachers - in particular for second-level subjects such as maths, science and languages.

TUI President Joanne Irwin says the union members voted for strike action, but they would prefer to enter talks before considering 'ramping up' industrial action.

She added: "Pay inequality has undermined the profession and corroded staff morale, leading to a crisis in the recruitment and retention of teachers.

"This inevitably impairs the quality of service to students. Unless and until this is addressed, the crisis will deepen."