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Shamrocks and Oil Slicks: A People’s Uprising Against Shell Oil in County Mayo, Ireland


Forthcoming in September 2019

County Mayo, Ireland, is spectacularly beautiful. Dolphins, whales, and seals frolic in bays, rivers teem with salmon. Into this tranquil, unspoiled region, in early 2002, came Shell Oil, announcing plans to build a gas refinery. Shell promised wonderful things: new jobs, improved roads, money for schools. Church officials called this project a “godsend,” while honest, hard-working families, who had lived in Mayo for generations, certainly saw no harm in the project. But when the citizens of County Mayo realized what Shell actually intended to do, they rose up. Shamrocks & Oil Slicks tells the story of County Mayo—the fishermen, farmers, teachers, business people—who, motivated by love for their environment, their community, and their country, fought one of the planet’s most powerful destroyers to a standstill.

To combat the pipelines that Shell planned to build dangerously close to their homes and the toxic chemicals Shell wanted to dump into their drinking water and their bay rich in sea life, the people launched a nonviolent resistance movement that was to last some fifteen years. Residents from all walks of life were beaten by police, threatened by mercenaries, sent to jail and prison. Abandoned by the state and their church, insulted and maligned by the media, they refused to give up fighting to save their environment and their heritage. This is a story of the courage inherent in everyday folk, told with sweeping and lyrical sincerity. It is one of many stories taking place now throughout the world, wherever people struggle to preserve what’s left of their natural world. More people are joining this resistance every day, inspired by uprisings like the one in County Mayo, Ireland.

Fred A. Wilcox is a writer, teacher, veterans’ advocate, and peace activist. He has devoted his life to chronicling the effects of chemical warfare in Vietnam, and to exposing the government’s criminality in all of its many forms. He is the author of several books, including Waiting for an Army to Die: The Tragedy of Agent Orange and Scorched Earth: Legacies of Chemical Warfare in Vietnam.

Format Clear

Publication Date: September 2019

Number of Pages: 160

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-58367-846-6

Cloth ISBN: 978-1-58367-847-3

eBook ISBN: 978-1-58367-848-0