Ian Paisley has accused the Irish government of provoking the Dublin and Monaghan bombings in 1974 in which 33 people were killed.

In a documentary for BBC Northern Ireland, the former DUP leader and first minister of Northern Ireland said that the political leaders in Dublin at the time brought the bombings on themselves.

He said they were a result of "their ridiculous attitude to Northern Ireland".

In the first of a major two-part television documentary on his life that airs on Monday night, Mr Paisley said: "I was very much shocked that there was anyone going to be hurt in that way.

"But I mean, who brought that on themselves was their own political leaders, and they had endorsed in what their attitude to Northern Ireland, and at that time the attitude of the south government in Northern Ireland was ridiculous.

"I not only had nothing to do with it, but I said I had nothing to do with it and denounced the people who had done it ...What more could I do?"

Mr Paisley said he was shocked by the bombings, which were carried out by loyalist paramilitaries. He said the killings were not justified.

He also said he was very angered by the shooting of 13 people in Derry on Bloody Sunday and said the inquiry afterwards proved that those who were killed were not using weapons and were making a protest within the law.

Mr Paisley praised the apology for Bloody Sunday made by British Prime Minister David Cameron.

He said he was glad to hear for the first time a British leader telling the truth about it.

Mr Paisley also said the discrimination against Catholics in Northern Ireland following partition was unacceptable.

He claimed the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s was a front for a united Ireland as it was associated with a battle that "ordinary decent Protestants" could not associate with.

Journalist Eamonn Mallie spent 40 hours interviewing a politician he has known for more than 30 years. He claimed Mr Paisley told him it would be his last interview.

Mr Mallie said: "He didn't seek any editorial control. He took everything I was able to throw at him. He was gracious, but a wily old fox.

"A lot of this was incredibly painful for him, but when it finished he shook my hand and said: 'Right, that's my last word'."

NI leaders disagree with comments on bombings

Speaking in Dublin, Northern Ireland First Minster Peter Robinson said he disagreed with Mr Paisley about the bombings and said those who left the bombs are the ones to blame.

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness also said he disagreed with Mr Paisley's comments about the bombings, but he welcomed his views on the discrimination of Catholics after partition.

Elsewhere, Margaret Urwin of the Justice for the Forgotten group said she was surprised and shocked by what Mr Paisley had to say.

"I think the most shocking thing about his remarks is that he was so candid in what he said," she told RTÉ's News At One.

"Obviously, they're quiet shocking to hear and this is the 40th anniversary year of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings.

"It certainly doesn't surprise us that Paisley would have held those views then, but it is very surprising that he is so willing to publicly express them so many years later."