Cyprus property market tarnished by London protest

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Cyprus Mail

TENS of thousands of prospective home-buyers were greeted with placards reading ‘Shame on Cyprus’ at the gates of a property exhibition in London over the weekend.

The signs were part of a high-profile campaign organised by Conor O’Dwyer who is embroiled in a lengthy legal battle with local developers.

Conor O'Dwyer talking to potential Cyprus property buyers at Earls Court
Conor O’Dwyer talking to potential Cyprus property buyers at Earls Court

His colourful protest, camped at the main entrance to Earls Court, was staged during the two-day A Place in the Sun show, an event designed to help people get onto the overseas property ladder.

The show was organised in conjunction with the popular Channel Four television programme, which draws millions of viewers every week.

Over 200 exhibitors, representing more than 40 countries worldwide witnessed the highly visible stand set up by O’Dwyer.

Despite objections from local property developers – many of whom were left fuming, O’Dwyer said he was allowed to stage the protest with the blessing of the Metropolitan police.

“Greek Cypriot property developers came out of Earls Court on masse, they were furious with me. Some took photos; it was worrying because I had my children there. Some even said they would take me to court.

“At first they wanted the stand to be taken down, but after I explained my situation, some of them expressed sympathy and one developer even offered to help, but many were not happy,” he said.

Thousands of property dealers and customers from Spain, France, Bulgaria, Turkey, Greece, Portugal, Italy and the USA were greeted by the protest, with many stopping to discover what was happening.

“It needs sorting out,” insists property analyst Nigel Howarth, “This has been going on for far too long. His case is high profile and who can even begin to calculate the damage by the negative press?”

O’Dwyer claims he purchased a house in the eastern village of Frenaros in 2005 that was then was resold without his knowledge by the developers.

The developers have dismissed the accusations and accused O’Dwyer of attempting to extort a more expensive house from them.

This is not the first time O’Dwyer has taken his campaign to the streets, two years-ago he held a protest outside the Cyprus High Commission in London.

O’Dwyer slept in a tent and spent his day updating his website and talking to passers-by, including, he said, potential British property buyers for Cyprus.

By: Nathan Morley Published: Tuesday 30th March 2010

To see comments from British expats read this article in the Cyprus Property News

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