The man, named locally as Walter Plunkett, of Ballyrea, Ballyedmond, Wells, Gorey, Co Wexford, was found dead in the front garden of his home yesterday at about 4.30pm.
Gardaí believe the man’s death was from the use of bodily force, such as suffocation. It is believed in the hours prior to his death, he had alerted some neighbours he had been in fear for his safety and gardaí in Enniscorthy were alerted.
Members of Enniscorthy Garda station went to the scene where they found the body of the man lying in the front garden of his private dwelling, which is situated on its own site, about 150m off the main Wexford/Gorey road.
He was pronounced dead at the scene. Gardaí immediately sealed off the house while traffic from the main road was diverted.
As news of the man’s death spread through the rural locality, neighbours gathered close to the house, shocked on hearing of the death of a man who they described as a quiet and long-standing neighbour.
It is believed that the man, along with his wife and daughter, came to live in Ballyrea about 20 years ago.
One neighbour said: “This is something one would not believe could happen in such a quiet, lovely rural countryside.”
The investigation is being led by Chief Superintendent John Roche and Inspector Pat Cody.
A decision on the upgrading of the investigation will be made this morning.
The body was removed late last night to Wexford General Hospital where a postmortem was due to be carried out.