Gardaí are investigating the death of an 83-year-old farmer at a house in Kilbeggan, Co Westmeath.

Deputy State Pathologist Dr Michael Curtis has arrived at the scene and is carrying out a preliminary examination.

The man has been named as Christy Hanley, who was unmarried and well known in the area.

Mr Hanley's body was discovered at a house on Main Street in Kilbeggan this morning. Relatives at the scene told RTÉ News they believe he was the victim of a robbery last night and may have been tied up.

It is understood the alarm was raised by an anonymous phone call to Tullamore Garda Station this morning.

The house near the Clara Road junction on the Moate side of Kilbeggan has been sealed off.

Mr Hanley was due to celebrate his 84th birthday in June. There was a burglary at his house 10 years ago, during which he was tied up and beaten by intruders.

Christy Hanley was also well known around the country as he attended numerous horse race meetings and operated a stall with a roulette wheel for many years.

Gardaí have closed off the main street for technical examination.