David Little is a journalism student finishing his fourth year at TU Dublin. With a passion for health and wellbeing, David has taken on the role of section editor for the same-named section of the Amárach magazine. Through his work with the magazine and across the duration of the course, David has developed a keen eye for detail and a commitment to producing high-quality content. 

Remembering Jake Perkins

I remember talking to Alex Perkins, one of Jake's three older brothers, in late September, on the day that his little brother had been rushed to the hospital due to complications with one of his lungs. He spoke about the most biting panic he had ever experienced when Jake started to have trouble breathing, shortly after a visit from his Grandfather. Jake was swiftly moved from the hospital bed set up in the living room to the family car, and both of his parents rushed to the hospital. After a long wait at home, Alex managed to get in contact with his Mother Susan, who filled him in on the events that had transpired up to and in Our Lady's hospital in Crumlin. And, believing it impossible before the call, the incomparable sense of trepidation he had just felt had been supplanted by a stronger emotion. Pride.  

After being put down on one of the hospital beds, he was given an oxygen mask to help him breathe. However, he kept taking the mask off. Not because he was uncomfortable wearing it, but because he was trying to say something. He repeated it over and over, as twelve nurses surrounded the bed, administering sedatives to help him drift off to sleep. "I love you, Dad". With Jake always being close to his mother, he wanted to comfort his Dad, even if it meant losing his main source of oxygen. 

Born in Coombe hospital on November 8th, 2009, Jacob Perkins grew up in Clondalkin with his family of eight. His older brothers Alex, Davey and Tristan, his sisters Kayleigh, Veda and Susie, and his loving parents, Doug and Susanne. He attended Scoil Talbot in Bawnogue before he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer, while in sixth class. Despite the challenges he faced during treatment, Jake remained positive and always had a smile on his face, winning the hearts of all the staff at Our Lady's hospital. 

Speaking about her brother, Kayleigh said "Jake was a true joy to be around, with a love for art, singing, dancing, video games (he loved Donkey Kong in particular!), and making TikToks.  

"He was particularly fascinated with Disney, collecting antiques and his favourite movie was The Little Mermaid. He was fascinated with mermaids ever since he was four years of age and owned over a hundred mermaid dolls". 

Kayleigh added "One of our fondest memories of Jake was when he dressed up in drag and sang Copacabana with drag queen and comedian Dame Stuffy in the Red Cow. He was born to perform and loved every second of it. We loved watching him." 

Kayleigh also recalled fond memories the family had with Jake in Centre Parcs, Daisy Lodge, Barretstown, and a Princess party that was organised by the Make a Wish Foundation at Palmerstown House. Jake always dreamed of being a celebrity, and he loved arriving at the party in a blacked-out limo. Jake also reprised an important role as the face of the Cancer Fund for Children (CFFC), raising awareness for cancer and appealing to the Irish government to provide support for further support for children in Ireland with cancer. 

In the last few months of his life, Jake's family and friends worked to create as many special memories with him as possible. From bowling at Centre Parcs to being the face of Cancer Fund for Children in County Down, Jake's zest for life never wavered. Even in his final days, Jake got to live out one of his dreams by appearing on television on the RTÉ show Fair City. 

Jake passed away on the 8th of November, 2022. His funeral mass was adorned with orange dresses, ties and socks; his favourite colour. 
"Jake was such a unique and wonderful little boy with a contagious personality. He was so loved by all of his family and friends and will be forever missed,” said Kayleigh.  

“He was the baby of our family. He had 3 older brothers and 3 older sisters and a mam and dad who all miss him terribly. Our hearts are broken and our house is quiet and empty without him." 

Rest in peace, Jake Perkins, a young boy who touched the lives of so many in his brief time on earth... You will be forever loved and never forgotten. 
CFFC is a charity that provides support to families with a childhood cancer diagnosis and it is seeking support to fund further nursing specialists. Please visit to learn more. 

Wastewater Woes

According to a report released by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), half of Ireland’s wastewater is not being treated to EU standards.  
The report states that EU countries have an average sewage treatment compliance rate of 90%.  

In 2021, areas such as Malahide and Ringsend did not reach all treatment standards set by the EU’s ‘Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive’. The Ringsend plant has previously discharged untreated sewage into Dublin Bay during heavy rainfall when the sewage treatment plant was overloaded in 2019.  

Meanwhile, the report also states that Howth pumps raw sewage directly into rivers, due to the area’s public sewer system not being connected to treatment plants.  

The EPA states in the report that a “multibillion-euro investment” by Irish Water is necessary to bring the plants up to EU standards. These standards have not been met since 2005.   

Speaking on the matter, Green Party MEP Grace O’Sullivan challenged Irish Water to work quickly to meet current EU standards. “While Irish Water has said they are playing catch-up since their set up in 2014, I don’t believe it is acceptable that we are missing targets from 2005.”  
“Work on the adequate treatment of our urban wastewater must be fast-tracked as soon as possible”.  

In response, Irish Water has announced plans to upgrade several plants, including the Bunmahon Wastewater Treatment plant in Waterford, its first upgrade in over 50 years, following several months of protests over the discharge of raw sewage into the Bunmahon Bay. 

Poor water treatment has had a significant impact on the town of Whitegate in Cork, with frequent notices being issued to boil tap water to make it safe to consume.  

Matt Lynch, a twenty-six-year-old resident of Whitegate Cork, spoke about the troubles he’s faced with the water quality.  
“We’ve had a boil water notice since October and the water has ranged from foggy to, at times, dirty. We can’t be expected to boil all of the tap water we want to use, especially since electricity costs have been going up.”  

Although plans to build a water treatment facility were announced by Irish Water in July, it is estimated that it will not be completed until 2025.   
“We hope to have a detailed design completed by the end of 2022. We are targeting early 2023 for the submission of a planning application to Cork County Council if required, and all going to plan, we hope to start construction in early 2024 with a completion time expected in late 2025,” said Ian O'Neill, the regional infrastructure delivery lead for Irish Water, in a recent statement.  

The report released by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) highlights the significant challenges facing Ireland's wastewater treatment facilities. With only half of the country's wastewater being treated to EU standards, there is a clear need for a multibillion-euro investment to bring the plants up to compliance. Poor water treatment has already had a significant impact on the town of Whitegate in Cork, where residents have been advised to boil their tap water for months. Although Irish Water has announced plans to upgrade several plants, including the Bunmahon Wastewater Treatment plant in Waterford, it is estimated that it will not be completed until 2025. Urgent action is needed to ensure that Ireland's wastewater treatment facilities meet EU standards and protect the environment and public health.