Poland is now a member of the European Union. Within the adopted Programme for the Development of Rural Areas in 2004-2006 a number of the actions will be launched to support the Polish agriculture. Ireland joined the EEC in 1973. Since that year its agriculture and rural areas have undergone serious transformation and Ireland has become one of the Community's richest countries. However, there still exist differences in the level of development of individual sectors of the Irish economy. It can be stated that the economic growth and growth in incomes have been reflected weakly in the situation of the rural areas of Ireland. Thus, the country's agriculture and rural areas constitute even now an important element of assistance programmes. The Irish Programme for the Development of Rural Areas in 2000-2006, which covers structural pensions, LFA payments, afforestation and agri-environment programmes, was put to a mid-term assessment in 2003. The results of the conducted analysis show that the individual components of the Programme contribute in a different measure to the implementation of the adopted goals and that they do not arouse equally great interest among the potential beneficiaries. Suggestions stemming from Ireland's experience may be interesting in the context of implementation of Poland's own rural development programme for the next few years.