DUP Minister Edwin Poots has said he is opposed to new Covid-19 restrictions agreed by the executive, in an email sent to more than 80 people.
He answered a member of the public who emailed MLAs about the restrictions.
The original email criticised the government for the “devastating effect” the tougher restrictions will have.
In a reply to all, Mr Poots said: “I entirely agree, unfortunately the majority of the Executive see things differently.”
“The failure of the health department will inevitably lead to the failure of the economy.”
Two weeks of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions will take force across NI from next Friday.
Mr Poots, who is a former Stormont health minister, declined a request to comment further on the contents of his email, which he said was “self explanatory.”
When asked asked by BBC News NI if he had intended to “include all” of the Stormont MLAs in his reply, he declined to comment.
The email from the member of the public had also stated that current pressure on the NHS was “nothing new” and that the NHS was “overwhelmed every year at this time.”
It continued: “This shows the utter incompetence of NHS and health department planning expecting the rest of the country to pay for their failings.”
Ulster Unionist health spokesman, Alan Chambers MLA, said Mr Poots’s comments showed “how detached from reality he is.”
“A few days ago he was pointing the finger of blame at the nationalist community for Covid-19,” he said.
“Now he’s blaming the health service, and in the process, insulting everyone within it who is working so hard at this particular time to save lives.”
“Edwin Poots needs to get real and stop playing pathetic political games in the middle of a global health pandemic, which has already delayed crucial life-saving decisions.
“His words and actions are grossly irresponsible.”
Ulster Unionist MLA Doug Beattie also responded saying: “His reply went into my spam folder.”
“Spam’ – irrelevant or unsolicited messages sent over the internet, typically to a large number of users,” he said.
It is understood Mr Poots voiced opposition to the restrictions during Thursday’s executive meeting.
Stormont sources said the minister, who has previously spoken out against imposing tighter lockdown measures, said it was illogical to close non-essential retail as it could severely damage the high street.
It is believed Mr Poots did not ask for the measures to be put to a vote by the executive and said he would accept whatever measures were agreed by the executive.