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Dublin: 18°C Tuesday 9 August 2022

Occupational hazard ahead: Fifteen photos of Irish politicians next to unfortunate signs

Those pesky exit signs.


AO9Z7282 Taoiseach Jobs_90502886 Source:

THE ABOVE PHOTO, by Leon Farrell of, made the front pages of all three main broadsheet newspapers this week.

Politician pictured beneath unfortunate sign – it’s a standard format for a photojournalist.

As one experienced political PR handler, Richard Moore, told us during the week, such scenarios are something of an occupational hazard:

“Photographers are very inventive – they have an eye. They’ll usually spot something that even someone in that kind of advisory role mightn’t be tuned into.

You’d keep a weather eye out for something – but then again the photograph might only be relevant if the politician is in the eye of a storm. But invariably there is a backdrop somewhere – it’s a common enough thing, where they’ll frame a photograph with maybe half a word or a word that’s germane at the time.

We trawled the archives for some of the best (or worst, depending on whose side you’re on) examples of the genre.

Those darn exit signs

Taoiseach Enda Kenny pictured at an event on Dublin’s Sheriff Street this week, and former Taoiseach Brian Cowen in the dying days of the Fianna Fáil-led government in 2010…

0193 Taoiseach launch Mulvey Report_90503064 Source:

90200576_90200576 Source: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

Under a cloud

Someone really needs to change the backdrop for the ‘Be Winter Ready’ campaign.

90320229_90320229 Source: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

File Photo Minister for Transport Shane Ross has given a stark briefing to his Cabinet colleagues on the financial position of Bus Eireann. He said it was at a crisis point now and if it continued as it was going, it could become insolvent within 24 month Source: Leah Farrell

90399800_90399800 Source: Sam Boal

Keep clear…

Then-Health Minister Leo Varadkar launches a Community First Response scheme in 2015.

21/1/2015 Community First Response Schemes Source: Sasko Lazarov


An unfortunate place to sit for Paschal Donohoe.

Guidelines for Setting and Managing Speed Limits - Dublin Source: PA Archive/PA Images


This picture of Alan Kelly struck us as being oddly comical – though we can’t quite explain why.

90248685_90248685 Source: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

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Seriously, stop

Fine Gael’s Phil Hogan, pictured at a party conference in 2010, Labour minister Pat Rabbitte in early 2011 and Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald at Dublin Airport in 2014.

90191020_90191020 Source: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

90219432_90219432 Source: Sakso Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

Civilianise Immigration Checks Source: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

Talk is cheap

A deep cut from the archives – Labour leader Ruairí Quinn campaigns on Moore Street in 2002.


Play by your rules

Even the winemakers were out to get Bertie…

90173759_90173759 Source: /Photocall Ireland

And finally…

Phil Hogan again… The former Environment Minister stares down the lens from a lab in Co Kildare.

90370146_90370146 Source: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Read: Trump’s choice for national security advisor turns down job >

Read: Paschal Donohoe says he’s not running for leadership of Fine Gael >

About the author:

Daragh Brophy

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