€65,000 mortgage would be most I could get - but I work in Dublin
At 28 and with a permanent teaching job, Orla Ni Fhoglu thought it would be interesting to see what level of mortgage she could negotiate.
Only one bank would entertain her request - and the best it could offer was €65,000. When she checked what she could buy, she "found a ruin in Co Leitrim", of little use to a teacher working in Dublin.
She is one of the new generation of teachers on austerity-era, lower salary scales, which, combined with changes in mortgage lending rules, have dampened her house-buying dream.
Ms Ni Fhoglu, from Scoil Mologa gaelscoil in Harold's Cross, was one of a number of young teachers who spoke passionately at the INTO conference about the impact of reduced salary scales on their lives.
"I am the only one on the staff on it; I teach the same curriculum and pupils from the same families as my colleagues; I teach the school choir, but I don't get paid the same."
She is now considering a career break to go teaching abroad so that she can accumulate the money she needs to buy a house.
Louise Curtis, from Belgrove girls' school in Clontarf, also feels the discrimination. She is the only teacher on the lower pay scale among a staff of more than 20.
"I work extra hours, I involve myself in every programme happening. I want to do my best for the school. We have had patience for the last five years; if we let it go on any longer there is absolutely no chance of starting to save for that mortgage."
Another recent graduate, Michael McConigley who teaches in Co Kildare, said lower pay rates were devaluing education. He said about 50 of his class of 450 were now working in the Middle East or the UK.