Newe, Gerard Benedict (1907–82), journalist and public servant, was born 5 February 1907 in Cushendall, Co. Antrim, the oldest among three sons and two daughters of Patrick Newe, native of Co. Westmeath, gardener for the MacDonnells of Monavert, Cushendall, and Catherine Newe (née McCanny) (b. 1879) of Scotstown, Co. Monaghan, daughter of an RIC man originally from Cooel, Co. Tyrone; his parents met and married in Co. Antrim when his mother was working in Ballymoney. The family lived first in the lodge on the MacDonnell estate, and secondly at Tully House, Cushendall.
Newe was educated, possibly through sponsorship, as a boarder at St Malachy's college, Belfast (1920–21), his father's early death in 1922 perhaps accounting for his withdrawal. Later he was educated by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate at Belcamp college, Dublin. Although he contemplated taking orders, his studies were interrupted when he contracted tuberculosis; returning to Cushendall, he took up freelance journalism. After editing and contributing under various pen names to a monthly paper, the Glensman (1931–2), he was editor of the Ulster Farmer (1937–67).
He entered the Northern Ireland civil service, becoming area administrative officer in the Ministry of Health and Local Government (1941–8). During the second world war he was responsible for evacuees in Co. Antrim. Subsequently, he was regional officer and director of the NI council of social service (1948–72), and in 1963 published the council's history (The story of the Northern Ireland council of social service). Breaking with precedent, NI Prime Minister Brian Faulkner (qv) appointed Newe, a public servant and a catholic, as minister of state with responsibility for community relations (1971–2), which post ceased with the implementation of direct rule from Westminster. A privy councillor (NI) from 1971, Newe was also chairperson of the personal social services advisory committee for NI (1974–81).
Throughout his life he was a member of numerous committees connected with his work and varied interests. He was a founder-member (1953) and honorary secretary of the Committee on Ulster Folklife and Traditions, and honorary secretary (1956–61) of its successor, the Ulster Folklife Society; he contributed ‘From a glens of Antrim notebook’ to the second volume of the society's journal (Ulster Folklife (1956), 56–9) and became one of the society's vice-presidents. Other publications included The catholic in the community (1958, 1965) and articles in the Tablet, the Furrow, Christus rex, and Aquarius. He was a founder-member of Protestant and Catholic Encounter (PACE), and later its co-patron.
Newe received the OBE (1961) and became a CBE (1977). He had a part-time lectureship in the department of social and preventive medicine, QUB, in the 1960s, and was awarded an honorary MA from QUB (1967) and an honorary D.Litt. from the New University of Ulster, Coleraine (1971). He resided in the glens at Prospect House, 28 Coast Road, Cushendall – the family home since at least the early 1920s – commuting to his work in Belfast on a weekly basis and keeping up the home after his mother's death in 1958. He was unmarried. Newe died on 25 November 1982, and was buried at St Mary's church, Cushendall. Press photographs of him from the 1960s to 1970s are in the Belfast Telegraph library, and his correspondence and papers from 1950 to 1982 are in PRONI.