The announcement that popular Ta' Xbiex restaurant Irrera is closing its doors for good made headlines this week, with many lamenting the loss of the local landmark.

The restaurant is situated next door to the Royal Malta Yacht Club, and can now exclusively reveal that its closure is related to the yacht club's legal difficulties in relation to the land it stands on.

When contacted by this newsroom a Royal Malta Yacht Club (RMYC) source explains that Irrera’s lease of its premises from the RYMC is expiring.

With the RMYC unsure of its future on the site, there was no basis for Irrera's lease, with the restaurant ending up as collateral damage in the club's legal woes.

The RMYC is currently facing eviction after a court found that the land in question had been illegally expropriated from its previous owner.

The issue dates back to 2009 when the Royal Malta Yacht Club had to vacate its historic home on Manoel Island to make way for MIDI, which was granted the exclusive right to develop the prime land by parliament.  

In return, the Nationalist Government at the time expropriated a stretch of land on the Ta' Xbiex coast from the Malta Playing Fields Association (MPFA), for the Royal Malta Yacht Club's new home.

In 2020, however, a court ruled that the club was not legally entitled to the land and the RMYC got evicted. It was later reported that the club had been reduced to operating out of shipping containers as the club had not successfully found a solution.

With the eviction situation still unresolved, the RMYC source explains that at the moment the club is “possibly in the process of starting some negotiations” in order to resolve its situation. The source was not in a position to comment on the stages of the negotiations, nor on the parties involved. However, there seemed to be hope.

A senior staff member of Irrera simply says that the team is "sad but resigned” when asked to comment on the restaurant’s recently announced closure. “This issue goes back to the Gonzi Government. They had taken the land away from us to give it to the Yacht Club and we could do nothing about it.”

Alfred Dimech had started legal proceedings to stop the Lands Department from evicting Irrera from its premises.

The long-running legal saga seems to have finally come to a close for Irrera, with the restaurant taking to social media earlier this week to thank its loyal customers and staff. For the Royal Malta Yacht Club, there is still much to resolve.

Main Image:

Royal Malta Yacht Club website

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