This chapter will discuss and analyse the complex issues associated with social work in Northern Ireland. This is a small jurisdiction of 1.8 million people within the United Kingdom (UK). Unlike England (population 55.2 million), Scotland (population 5.5 million) and Wales (population 3.1 million), it does not share a single land mass on the large island off the west coast of Europe that is Great Britain. It is located farther to the west in the North East corner of the island of Ireland. That geography has been an essential aspect of what some historians record as 800 years of struggle, often violent, over political identity and governance. In the latter part of the twentieth century that struggle achieved notoriety for being the longest contracted armed struggle within and against a European state in the postwar period – a period of political violence by the state and local paramilitary groupings euphemistically termed locally as the ‘Troubles’.
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