Ireland's Ambassador to China Declan Kelleher has said the benefit of Ireland's diplomatic missions around the world far outweighs their cost.
It emerged this week that €76m was spent running Irish embassies last year.
Mr Kelleher has returned home ahead of a visit from the Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping.
He is due to arrive in Ireland this weekend after a visit to the US and ambassador Kelleher said diplomats do an important job working to promote the welfare of Ireland and the country's interests.
Mr Kelleher said: " I think it is important not to underestimate the promotion of Ireland's interests and for example in the case of China, Irish council, the Irish embassy and the State-sponsored bodies co-ordinate very closely.
"I chair a markets team, we meet regularly and we look forward at how to go into new areas of the Chinese market and how to develop new relationships. If you were to quantify that, I think you would find that the benefit would far outweigh the cost of our presence."