The child, who hasn’t been named, but who later died from his injuries, is believed to be from Lithuania.
Senior gardaí have expressed their shock.
Cork GAA legend Kevin Hennessy, who lives nearby at the housing estate in Castleredmond, Midleton, Co Cork, tried to help.
“When I got there he was lying on the grass. He was breathing and crying.”
He said his daughter contacted the HSE and was told no ambulance was available.
The ex-hurler then took the boy to South Doc and maintains he was told it would be advisable to take the child to Cork University Hospital (CUH). He drove the boy there himself.
The toddler fell at 2pm on Monday and died on Wednesday. Gardaí believe it was a tragic accident.
“No one is safe now. I don’t know if I could have saved him or not. He fell on his head. But it’s disgraceful that there wasn’t an ambulance to come for him,” said Mr Hennessy,. “We were told there was no ambulance available in your area. I wouldn’t trust the HES now, after that. I’m appalled by what happened.”
Senior gardaí said they were shocked and appalled by the delays in ambulance responses in the region.
One Garda source said it was unacceptable that such a circumstance could happen and it would be taken up “at a higher level”.
It follows on an incident on Monday when an assault victim was left lying unconscious on a Youghal street for almost an hour before either an ambulance or a doctor became available.
The incident occurred at 2.20am on South Main St. The man suffered head and facial injuries in a fall.
Gardaí there were told the nearest available ambulance was “being dispatched from Wexford”, according to a Garda spokesman. “They were told there was nobody from SouthDoc available either. So they had to call out the fire brigade.”
The Wexford ambulance turned back 20 minutes later when an alternative was dispatched from Cork.
“The Cork ambulance and a SouthDoc doctor arrived almost simultaneously almost an hour after first being summoned and the man was taken to CUH,” said the spokesman. “It’s just not good enough for a town to be left in that situation.”
The HSE said it had three emergency ambulances on duty in Cork City and nine across the county on the night, along with “two rapid response vehicles”. However “as Youghal is based near the Cork/Waterford border, a request about the availability of the Dungarvan emergency ambulance was also made to the South East Ambulance Control Centre [based in Wexford]”.
The statement proceeds: “It was established that the nearest available emergency ambulance [based in Cork City] was allocated to the call at 2.29am and arrived at the scene at 3.13am.”
SouthDoc failed to respond to a request for comment.