Irishman Learned to Read and Write at Age 53

Irishman Learned to Read and Write at Age 53

Tony Moloney, a former taxi driver from Ireland, moved the media after confessing that he was an illiterate for decades.


Moloney, now 60, spent many years of his life in fear. He had a secret. He did not know how to read or write. He was an illiterate and was ashamed because of it. But the brave Irishman also did not know about his dyslexia, learning disorder which affects millions of individuals. And like other dyslexics, Moloney struggled in school.


But Moloney was good at maths, and he was able to graduate from high school. However, since he lacked language proficiency, he did not have that many career choices. He encountered many obstacles. Moloney wanted, for instance, to be part of the pharmaceutical industry. Thus, he applied at Pfizer. But because he did poorly at some exams, he was not hired. Moloney accepted his limitations, and he decided to work with his hands. For years, he worked as a painter and as a decorator.


Years passed by. Moloney, who currently lives in Youghal, got married and had children. The native from Cork also worked for many years as a taxi driver. As a taxi driver, Moloney faced many obstacles. Because he did not know how to read and write, he had to develop some coping mechanisms. So Since Moloney could not write down directions, he relied a lot on a dictaphone that he used to carry around. He also had to memorize people’s names. He had to remember addressees by heart. According to Moloney, he thought illiteracy was uncommon. He thought that he was the only one that had a lot of difficulties with reading and writing. This is why he never told his children about his literacy issues.


But things changed seven years ago. Moloney, after finding out about some local free computer classes, decided that he wanted to obtain computer skills. And when attending his local school. his problems with reading and writing were addressed. He was helped by a dedicated tutor. Moloney worked with the tutor for almost two years. Later, after being convinced by the tutor, Moloney joined a class with other adults with literacy issues.


Moloney is currently an ambassador for NALA. He has also passed several difficult exams provided by FETAC. According to Moloney, one in eight Irish adults has literacy issues. It is also never too late to go back to school. Moloney now sees the world differently. Moloney thinks he is currently a better person. There is a new world for him out there.



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