THE transfer of a sick baby to Our Lady's Hospital in Crumlin was delayed after an ambulance broke down and a replacement vehicle also developed problems on the urgent journey.
The HSE has confirmed that a special neonatal ambulance broke down while it was on its way to collect the child from Cork.
It also admitted that the replacement ambulance sent to complete the transfer also developed mechanical problems as it approached Dublin with the baby on board.
An emergency services source said the second ambulance "limped back to Dublin but they got the baby to the hospital".
In all it was at least five-and-a-half hours until the baby arrived at hospital.
The HSE has not responded to requests for information about how long the whole transfer ultimately took.
News of the delayed transfer comes just days after a sick child was trapped in a Dublin Fire Brigade (DFB) ambulance for as long as 40 minutes after it developed problems with its electrical systems.
A DFB spokeswoman said that incident – which occurred on St Patrick's Day – was being treated very seriously and was under investigation.
The delayed transfer of the sick infant from Cork occurred over the late night of March 3.
Sources said the first ambulance was nearing the end of its life, with in the region of 360,000km on its odometer.
They added that it was due to cease being used when it reached 400,000km.
A spokeswoman for the HSE said that the first ambulance departed the Rotunda at 18:35 and proceeded to Cork.
"On arrival on the outskirts of Cork City (Mitchelstown Exit) the vehicle developed a mechanical problem and the control were informed of same."
After it broke down a replacement vehicle was sent out from Dublin.
The spokeswoman said of the second ambulance: "This vehicle developed a loss of power but the vehicle was in a position to continue to its destination under reduced power and completed the assigned call."
The HSE did not respond when asked exactly what time the baby left CUH Cork or what time it arrived at Our Lady's Hospital in Crumlin.