The death of a Waterford man in an ambulance while it was en route to hospital in Cork has been raised in the Dáil.

Thomas Power, from Belle Lake, east Waterford, died on Sunday afternoon in an ambulance outside Dungarvan on the way to Cork University Hospital.

He had earlier presented at the emergency department at University Hospital Waterford (UHW) with chest pains.

There is no catheterisation or CAT laboratory open in UHW at weekends.

Today, local Fianna Fáil TD Mary Butler said the Government should not be treating the people of the area as second class citizens.

Her party's health Spokesperson, Billy Kelleher, said the situation "needs to be urgently investigated to ensure that it never happens again."

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar expressed his sympathy to the family of Mr Power, but added he did not want to comment on individual cases.

He said it was premature in the absence of a clinical case review or an inquest to say what the precise cause of death was. 

Earlier, a former clinical director of UHW called on Minister for Health Simon Harris to take immediate action in relation to cardiac services in the southeast.

Dr Rob Landers was speaking in the wake of the 38-year-old's death.

The issue of 24/7 cardiac cover in Waterford has been a political issue over the past two years, particularly after a review and the publication of what is known as the Herity Report.

That report recommended against the provision of a second cath laboratory for the hospital.

While expressing his sympathy to the Power family, Mr Harris said he will continue to follow clinical advice in relation to cardiac services in Waterford.

Dr Landers maintains the Herity Report is flawed and strongly criticised the minister for continuing to agree with it.

Minister of State John Halligan, who represents Waterford and who has campaigned for a second cath lab, has expressed his deep condolences to the Power family and said existing cardiac services in the southeast were not on a par with the rest of the country.