SINN Féin is not run by the Provisional IRA, party president Gerry Adams has said.
Mr Adams was forced to defend his party during a Dáil debate yesterday which saw questions arising over whether Sinn Féin is run by members of the PIRA army council.
A report released this week by MI5 and the PSNI claims that all of the main paramilitary groups that operated during the Troubles are still in existence.
It went on to state that dissident republicans are the biggest threat to peace in the North of Ireland.
And the fallout saw claims that Sinn Féin is run by the PIRA army council emerging in the Dáil.
“No one can control Sinn Féin but the Sinn Féin membership,” Mr Adams said in an interview with RTÉ.
“There is a suggestion Sinn Féin is controlled by some outside body or group. We are not.”
The report, released on Tuesday, claims that though organisations like the Provisional IRA are still in existence, they are committed to achieving their aims without violence.
But it went on to state that these groups do not have total control of their members and some individuals do act violently without sanction.
The report was prompted by the murder of prominent republican Kevin McGuigan in Belfast in August.
His death was described as a “revenge killing” for Mr McGuigan’s alleged involvement in the death of Gerard ‘Jock’ Davison in May.
The North’s main unionist party, the DUP, stepped down from their ministerial offices until the release of the report, claiming they would not work with Sinn Féin until the status of the PIRA was made public.
And the acknowledgement of the continued existence of these groups sent ripples around the Dáil with questions arising over Sinn Féin’s involvement with the PIRA.
By Mr Adams condemned active paramilitaries in Ireland, while reiterating that Sinn Féin is not run by the PIRA at any level.
“Sinn Féin is the only organisation involved in the Republican struggle and in Republican activism,” he said.
“We are wedded to democratic and peaceful means. After all we secured a peaceful and democratic way to secure republican objectives.
“All parties have a responsibility to tackle criminality and bring paramilitarism to an end and Sinn Féin will play a full part in this important work.”
The news is likely to come as a blow to Sinn Féin who have launched their election campaign ahead of the general election in February of next year.
Deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald told The Irish Daily Mail that she is influenced only by the electorate.
The British and Irish Governments continue to work with politicians in Stormont to bring an end to the political standstill in the North since Mr McGuigan’s murder.