The former secretary of the US Homeland Security Department, Tom Ridge, has said the world should anticipate more attacks from al-Qaeda.

Speaking at a conference in Waterford, Mr Ridge said intelligence services across the world were now working together like never before, which is essential in fighting the threat of terrorism.

Mr Ridge said intelligence departments work on the basis that the next terrorist attack is only a matter of time given the unprecedented nature of terrorism, particularly of jihadists.

Regarding the recent spy swap story involving the US and Russia, he said espionage is part of how the world operates, even though now the Cold War is over.

In his keynote address, Mr Ridge, said, ‘information sharing has become the epicentre of everything we do.'

He continued: 'it makes little difference whether you are chasing criminals or expanding your business, decisions are best rendered with benefit of information analysis.’

Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern said that the Government is committed to enhancing the intelligence capabilities of the gardaí.

Minister Ahern said that the use of covert surveillance evidence in court allows more strategic targeting of both terrorism and organised crime in Ireland.