Whilst the project to increase workforce mobility is part of a common labour force policy across the European Union, for some social workers, it has also been coupled with an aspiration to develop a pan-European identity within the profession (Lorenz, 1994, 2000; Frost, 2008). In this article, taking the island of Ireland as an example, we examine empirical data on the movement of social workers in recent years, both within Ireland and inward from outside the island, and consider the challenges and opportunities this has presented for the profession, also drawing on the British experience. From this analysis, some tentative conclusions are drawn about what is happening, what is possible and what is desirable in balancing aspirations for increased mobility within the European Union and a pan-European social work identity against the needs and interests of local, European and global communities.
Source: British Journal of Social Work, Volume 40, Issue 6, 2010. First published online: December 13, 2009