I thank Deputy Mac Lochlainn for the question. I have met many of those homeowners. I was actually in Donegal last summer, as the Deputy will know, when we opened the scheme for applications. I have quite a lot of personal experience with this type of remediation scheme. I was involved with the pyrite remediation scheme, going back to 2011, with the late Minister of State, Shane McEntee, who was heavily involved in the scheme.
All schemes evolve from their initial condition. My colleague, Deputy Calleary from Mayo, has also been raising matters relating to the scheme with me. With specific regard to Donegal, when I recently met with the defective block group there, I asked it to forward a submission to me. I asked the group to come back to me with a little bit more detail so that we could assess exactly what it was looking for and get an understanding of the size of homes involved and the issues with the banks. I have written to the Minister for Finance, Deputy Donohoe, on those issues. Some of the banks are not interacting with people, even to help them with the test. Only on 29 April, just a few days ago, I received quite a detailed submission from the group through Councillor Martin McDermott, a colleague of mine in Donegal who is doing a very good job there, and we are assessing that submission at the moment. There are issues with regard to the size of homes and various other things.
I encourage people to engage with the scheme. It is important. At this stage, we have 378 stage 1 applications, 308 of which relate to Donegal and 70 to Mayo. Nearly 60% have been approved. It is important that people continue to engage with the scheme. It is in its infancy and when I was in Donegal I told people that it will be a multi-annual scheme. It will take a number of years to fix the problem we have in Donegal and Mayo. I have also heard reports of the issue in another county in the north west and we are investigating that at the moment. I only received the submission from the group very recently. Other Members and my party colleagues have raised other issues with me as well.