The national figures for Ireland and Poland have practically flipped since Morning Ireland's last Poland series in 2007. Unemployment and economic growth figures have been reversed in both countries and Poland has emerged as the strongest economy in the former communist bloc. Poland joined the EU in 2004. It is one of the top 15 countries for Irish exports and had managed to avoid recession over the last 20 years. 226 Enterprise Ireland supported business operate in the country.
Kenny Morgan, President of the Irish Chamber of Commerce in Poland, says that over the last 20 years or so, Poland has seen great changes. Warsaw had just two high rise buildings two decades ago, the Palace of Culture and the Marriot Hotel, but is now like "down-town Dallas with snow", he states. The two countries know each other well and since 2000, Mr Morgan says there has a been a huge increase in the number of Poles moving to Ireland. The holding of the Euro 2012 soccer competition in Poland also resulted in a good relationship with Ireland as the Irish fans at the tournament had a great positive impact on the Polish people. He noted that Tourism Ireland closed their offices in Poland at the end of 2012, saying that the move came as a surprise because over 100,000 Polish people visit Ireland every year.
Mr Morgan says that the red tape and tax regulations is more time consuming in Poland for those setting up a business there - corporate taxes have to paid every month in Poland compared to just once a year in Ireland. While the business of business is more complex, it is "doable" and Mr Morgan advises to get a good company to help with all the tax filings. On the current situation in near-by Ukraine, Mr Morgan says that most economists there believe it will not be a threat to the overall Polish economy. Poland's foreign exchange currency has held up so far during the crisis, while exports levels have just suffered a little. The only downside would be if things really go bad in Ukraine, resulting in outright war which could see refugees crossing the border into Poland, he adds.
Mariusz Mierzejewski is an IT project manager who came to Ireland to work in the boom after he left college. He lost his job in the economic bust, moved back to Poland and now is a senior manager with a great job because of his experience in Ireland. Mariusz says his time in Ireland gave him a good insight in how business operates around the world and also how people feel when they live outside their home country. After three years working in Ireland, he said he felt it was time to invest in a home in Poland - as Irish house prices were seeing massive rises - and settle down with a family. He says his time in Ireland really boosted his employment prospects once back in Poland.