Photographer John Minihan. Pic: John Allen

by Perry O’Donovan

A LOCAL photographer has hit out at a political party for the misuse of one of his most iconic images.

The photo of playwright Samuel Beckett was taken by Ballydehob-based John Minihan and is being used by Ógra Fianna Fáil as part of a campaign urging third-level students to join the party.

The campaign hopes to “resurrect” the party’s fortunes using the story of Lazarus to urge students to become “part of the comeback”.

The campaign uses a number of posters and social media memes, including one based on the Sylvester Stallone Rocky movie franchise and another showing a John Minihan photograph of the Nobel laureate Samuel Beckett, which paraphrases Beckett’s line from Worstward Ho where he urges those who have failed to try again and “fail better”.

The offending poster

Speaking to Skibbereen Times, John Minihan said, “Beckett would be turning in his grave; he would never allow himself to be associated politically, especially with that lot.

“Maybe I wouldn’t mind so much if it was any good but it is silly and stupid”, Minihan continued, “for one thing the failure of the last Fianna Fáil government is not a ‘no matter!’”

He added, “They bankrupted the damn country, it’s a huge fricking matter!! Their recklessness is nothing to be blithe about at all.

“Even if the thing was genuinely clever, rather than a stupid piece of low-grade punning, I would still be mad about it because it looks like I sold out on Beckett, who would be sick to his stomach about something like this.

“I totally reject and denounce this ad, this poster, this ‘meme’—or whatever it’s called—it is an abuse of copyright and it is an abuse of Beckett and all that he represents.”

Mr Minihan added, “I cannot even see how it does the Fianna Fáil party any good.

“What—is this world-worn, old man, photographed on a winter’s day shortly before his death, suppose to represent the party? Or the country?

“Or is it all just a joke—a bit of young Fianna Fáil gas? If this is what they think is good marketing then all I can say is that their marketing people are on a par with their abilities in area of economic management.”