|| This paper engages in a critical analysis of the educational theory of Paulo Freire. It is based on qualitative research which explores Irish adult literacy practice. The research harnesses the ontological aspects of Freire's theory; his interpretation of how human reality is constructed. Using this as the theoretical foundation for inquiry, research questions were developed using the theme of Freire's dialogical 'rejection of subject/object dichotomies' (Freire 1970). This element of Freire's theory is deconstructed and is used in order to examine how an authentic educational relationship, between learner and tutor/educator, can be created through dialogue. These considerations have pedagogical applications in all areas of the adult and further education sectors.