The Teachers’ Union of Ireland has said it is considering a legal challenge to what it called discriminatory attacks on the salaries of new teachers.

General Secretary John MacGabhann said the new lower salaries threatened to destroy teaching as a profession.

He said new teachers had been singled out for a succession of particularly punitive attacks.

The union said the new salary means a teacher starting today will earn 22% less than a similarly qualified teacher who started two years ago.

Speaking on RTÉ's Drivetime, Mr MacGahann denied that cuts to wages of entry level teachers were a direct consequence of the Croke Park Agreement, as negotiated and agreed upon by it and other unions.

He said that it was instead the result of "a cynical decision of Government."

"We believe that the agenda here is to collapse not just the pay of new entrants, but to use that as a lever to secure a collapse in the whole system of pay for public servants," Mr MacGabhann said.