The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Micheál Martin, has defended the decision to refurbish the Ottawa residence of the Irish ambassador to Canada.

It was reported today that the taxpayer has paid more than €4.4m to revamp the embassy.

Speaking on RTÉ This Week, Minister Martin said it was important that Ireland be properly represented overseas.

He described the amount spent as a 'very significant sum of money' but said foreign embassies played a key role in winning inward investment and in supporting the work of Enterprise Ireland and the IDA.