Gerard Newe

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Dr. Gerard Newe, OBE (1907–1982), was the first Roman Catholic to be appointed a minister in the Government of Northern Ireland.[1] He was appointed on 27 October 1971 as a Minister of State (i.e. junior minister) in the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland's Department.[2] Dr. Newe was appointed even though he was not an MP.[3] Brian Faulkner, then Prime Minister, appointed him to advise on matters concerning the Roman Catholic community. This was widely viewed as an attempt to improve community relations and encourage the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) to return to the parliament.

Long before his appointment, Dr. Newe had made known his view that the Catholic minority in Northern Ireland needed to fully engage with the Northern Ireland Government. In 1958 he condemned the futility of depending on the Republic of Ireland’s legal claim to the territory of Northern Ireland and encouraged Catholics to co-operate with the Northern government, it being in his own words, “the authority that controls life and welfare."[4]


  1. ^ See: Executive Committee of the Privy Council of Northern Ireland
  2. ^ CAIN: Chronology of the Conflict 1971
  3. ^ Berresford Ellis, Peter, A History of the Irish Working Class, 1985, p 324
  4. ^ Bardon, Jonathan, A History of Ulster, 1992, p 410