This paper is an introduction to the study of minor parties in Ireland. It tackles a number of themes that are explored in more detail by other contributors in this volume, including the influence of minor parties, their electoral performance and the factors explaining the level of variation in these two areas. As the title suggests, this paper is a schema for how this topic can be approached. In particular it answers some of the key preliminary questions that are necessary before any analysis into this area can be conducted. Such questions include determining the number of, and support for, minor parties in Ireland vis-a-vis their European counterparts. It is found that although competing in a smaller arena than other comparative parliaments, the impact of minor parties in Ireland has been considerable.
- minor parties