Fears are being raised about the lack of ambulance cover across Cork after a toddler died in hospital two days after falling from an upstairs window.
The HSE has asked the National Ambulance Service to investigate after it emerged no ambulance was available to help the little boy - who would have turned two tomorrow.
He fell from a window at his home in Castleredmond in Midleton on Monday. He died on Wednesday at Cork University Hospital.
Former Cork GAA star Kevin Hennessy - who lives nearby - rushed to try to help the toddler.
His daughter called the emergency services but was told there was no ambulance available to respond to the scene and that they should take the child to SouthDoc.
Speaking to Cork's RedFM Kevin Hennessy says the boy's life may have been saved if an ambulance had been available.
"Where are we going in this day and age for a two-year-old boy who has had an accident? Two year olds get up to all sorts.
"He could still be alive today if there was an ambulance.
"I'm not saying it's their fault - I know they have a lack of money and a lack of services, but where are we going?"
Hennessy, meanwhile, told the Evening Echo: "The boy was moving his arms and legs but I could see he had swelling to his head. I thought that SouthDoc was not the appropriate course of action but we rang the gardaí, who provided an escort up to Cork city, and we drove at top speed.
“The gardaí were absolutely superb in the situation but it shouldn’t have been left up to them. This is the second tragedy involving a young child locally in recent months and you have to wonder how many more will die before the ambulance situation in east Cork is resolved. It is heart-breaking and something I will live with for the rest of my days.”
Cllr Pat Buckley said the situation had become totally untenable in light of the latest tragedy.
Seven-year-old James Casey Butler died in March after falling into the Owenacurra river. The response time of the ambulance was also under scrutiny after the tragedy.
Cllr Buckley said: “This is an unspeakable tragedy. We need clarity, communication and a proper service or else this kind of tragedy will keep happening.”
The HSE offered their sympathies to the family of the boy and said the National Ambulance Service has been requested to examine details of the incident.
In a separate incident in Co Cork on Monday an ambulance took almost an hour to respond to a call from gardaí in Youghal.
They had sought help to treat an assault victim but despite calls to the ambulance service in Cork county and neighbouring Waterford and Wexford none was immediately available.
The man later made a full recovery.