Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald said she isn’t accountable to unelected figures in the organisation, “shadowy or otherwise”.
Ms McDonald rejected the view of the PSNI that the Provisional Army Council still oversaw both the IRA and Sinn Fein.
Garda Commisioner Drew Harris said last year he shared the PSNI’s view.
When asked about this at an online talk as part of the Irish Times summer nights festival, the Sinn Fein leader said: “He said it, and what else was he going to say? That was a classic case of ‘Dúirt bean liom go ndúirt bean léi’ — the type of thing that somebody said that they thought. I don’t operate in conjecture of that nature.
“I am the leader of Sinn Fein and I’m in thrall to no figures, shadowy or otherwise.”
When asked if she makes phone calls to figures in Belfast, Ms McDonald said as the party leader nationally she has to “have an eye on everything that is happening across the island”.
However, she said that there is no “outside structure outside of Sinn Fein that has to okay actions, that simply is not the case”.
Ms McDonald was also asked about concerns that if Sinn Fein entered government in Dublin that the party hierarchy would be led by people not known to the public.
The Sinn Fein leader said this suggestion was “farcical”.
“When I am asked about this it is generally in exchanges like this or in conversations with media people or commentators,” she said.
“That is not something that is raised with me on doorsteps. I am in thrall to nobody.
“I am elected by the people of Dublin Central. My colleagues are elected. We are accountable to the people who elect us.
“This business of us being in thrall to others it is a ruse deployed by people who quite frankly have held all of the strings of power now in this State for a century and who are not going to let change in without putting up a fight, and this is one of the arguments that they deploy.”
The Sinn Fein leader said she believes a move toward a united Ireland will happen in this decade.
“This is a really exciting opportunity. It is incredible we have the chance to fashion Ireland again,” she said. “Things we got wrong, we have a chance to start over and get them right.”