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and attempt to use their newly-found literacy skills outside the classroom and accelerate their learning process. We would, therefore strongly recommend that initial language assessments of learners incorporate a written component to delineate those with literacy problems, as an oral screening procedure fails to identify groups L3 and L4. We initially developed a syllabus for and taught a group of 15 learners from groups L1 to L5 and found that it took at least a year for motivated students to progress to a level at which they could join a mainstream English course. Unfortunately, this class was closed down due to a lack of funding, and most of the students were placed in general English classes with literate learners. At the time of writing, there is no provision in Ireland for refugees and asylum seekers with literacy problems. We therefore advocate, in the strongest possible terms, the rapid implementation of the proposals in Learning for Life: The White Paper on Adult Education that priority is given to “the need to provide specific tailored programmes and basic literacy for all immigrantsâ€?. For refugees and asylum seekers in Ireland, the ability to read and write in English is the key that opens the door to integration into Irish society, and the absence of educational opportunities is the ultimate form of disempowerment. Genevieve Halkett and Nick Mulloy teach English writing classes to refugees and asylum seekers in Spiritan House.They have previously worked for RLSU (Refugee Language Support Unit) and Get Tallaght Working (FĂ S Tallaght).