Senior members of Sinn Féin, some of whom have sat on the army council according to the British and Irish governments, together with IRA members not known to be involved in illegal activities, have been effectively immune from prosecution in recent years in order to enable progress in the peace process.
On 14 January, 2005, Martin Ferris (Sinn Féin party, TD for North Kerry) was accused of being a member of the IRA army council in an article in the Irish Times written by journalist Kevin Myers. In the same article, Myers also accused members of Sinn Féin who had visited Downing Street in December 2004, which included Gerry Adams, of sitting on the army council.
On February 20, 2005, Irish Justice Minister Michael McDowell publicly named Gerry Adams, Martin Ferris, and Martin McGuinness MP, Sinn Féin's chief negotiator, as members of the army council during a radio interview. The three men issued a statement the next day denying the charge.
On 27 July, 2005, Michael McDowell expressed his belief that Gerry Adams, Martin McGuinness and Martin Ferris had recently (i.e. within the previous few days) left the IRA army council. However he also claimed that it was his opinion that this by itself did not necessarily amount to a permanent split between the two organisations.
At the General Army Convention in May 2005, The Sunday Times reported that following changes were made to the IRA Army Council:
The Sunday Times reported in July 2005 that security sources believed that the current army council consisted of: