Congress General Secretary David Begg has called for a major programme of social investment in the face of “irrefutable evidence that austerity is not working.” Addressing delegates to the organisation’s Biennial Delegate Conference (BDC), in Belfast, Begg said: “Five years on we are confronted with irrefutable evidence that austerity is not working.  Last week the CSO reported that GDP fell by 0.6 per cent in the first quarter of this year, the third consecutive quarter in which it has fallen.  Likewise personal expenditure fell by a further 3 per cent and capital investment fell by 7.4 per cent. “The realisation is dawning that the plan is not working and we know that a Europe with some 26 million people out of work is simply not sustainable.  “Having virtually wrecked the European economy and created a lost generation of young European citizens, they are beginning to realise that there is a tipping point.  This is what is motivating the €6 billion youth guarantee.  "Now is the hour to push for social investment and the construction of institutions of the social market economy to balance the power and independence of the ECB. “Now is the critical juncture to seek a commitment to the mutualisation of debt. “Now is the time to demand nothing less than the reflation of the European economy,” Begg said.  He drew strong applause from delegates when he condemned the treatment of staff in the fomer Anglo Irish Bank.  “I think people were still shocked and certainly offended, by the boorish and cynical behaviour of the senior managers of Anglo-Irish bank revealed in the tapes made public last week. “But justifiable anger at this behaviour should not blind us to the fact that the union members in IBRC are every bit as much victims of their conduct as are the taxpayers.   I do not believe it is acceptable to this Congress for staff to be thrown on the side of the road with just statutory redundancy and I have said this to the Minster for Finance Michael Noonan in no uncertain terms,” Begg said.