Protesters demand restoration of wage increments for nurses
She's 14 years old and although still at school, has always dreamed of being a nurse - just like her mum.
But Zara Caulfield has said she may have to rethink her life's ambition due to the treatment of nurses by the Government.
Zara joined her mother, Leish Caulfield (47), from Dunmore East, Co Waterford, yesterday outside the Dáil to protest for the restoration of pay increments for nurses who graduated between 2011 and 2015.
"It's always been my dream to become a nurse, but seeing this, it's kind of making me re-decide.
"I want to follow my dream but I want to be fairly treated and I want to be able to live while doing my dream," Zara told the Irish Independent.
Trade unions Siptu, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) and the Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) organised yesterday's protest. They were supported by the Union of Students in Ireland (USI).
Liam Doran, general secretary of the INMO, claimed the Department of Health had agreed to restoring increments, worth about €1,500-a-year, for nurses who qualified between 2011 and 2015. But he said this had been blocked by the Department of Public Expenditure.
Under the current situation, nurses who qualify this year will be better paid than those with more experience.
A statement from the Department of Public Expenditure and reform confirmed it granted a sanction in February 2016 for nurses graduating in the current year to be paid the increments.
"This issue arose in the context of encouraging greater retention and recruitment of trainee nurses into the public health service," it said.
It added that if this proved successful, an extension to nurses who graduated between 2011-2015 could be reviewed.