Mary Lou McDonald said Sinn Fein will have to "figure out" whether its TDs will take ministerial salaries if the party enters government.
She was speaking after Sinn Fein held its first parliamentary party meeting of the new Dail term.
"Sinn Fein won the election," she said.
Speaking before Fianna Fail ruled out a coalition deal with Sinn Fein, Ms McDonald said it would be up to Micheal Martin's party to decide whether they wanted to be part of the change people voted for.
A grand coalition of Fine Gael and Fianna Fail would be "a slap in the face to the Irish electorate", she said.
The parliamentary party meeting was attended by ex-leader Gerry Adams, but a party spokesman said that all outgoing TDs were invited to the occasion.
Another retiree, Caoimhghin O Caolain, said goodbye to colleagues on the plinth after 23 years in Leinster House. He was the first Sinn Fein TD to be elected to the Dail, taking his seat in 1997 - nine years after the party ended its abstentionist policy.
Taking questions from the media at lunchtime, Ms McDonald said Sinn Fein TDs would take their salary, make the maximum allowable donation to the party of €2,500 and use the rest to run constituency services, as the existing Oireachtas expenses and allowances do not cover this "expensive business".
Asked about whether Sinn Fein would take ministerial salaries, she said "we'll have to figure that out".
Sinn Fein's "average industrial wage" policy has been eased in recent years.
"There is nobody in Sinn Fein that is elected to any office in it for big careers or big money," Ms McDonald said.
She also praised a party political adviser who tweeted on Wednesday: "If Shinners could desist making unnecessary comments that do nothing but sabotage recent and volatile electoral success, that would be great."
The now-deleted tweet was praised by Ms McDonald who said: "Bravo, absolutely, absolutely."
The tweet is thought to have been a response to David Cullinane's "Up the 'Ra" comments last Sunday, new TD Violet-Anne Wynne's anti-vaccine Facebook posts, and ex-Sinn Fein councillor Enda Fanning's proposal for "a proper monitoring authority" for the media.