*slaps The-Architect upside the head*
Any person can join the channel, elitism is not accepted in any part of OFPEC, including IRC.
As for the IRC applet, its down until we find and pay for one, and get it installed.
Its not high on the priority list at his point in time, especially with IRC being accessible by many programs like mIRC, Trillian, etc.
If you wish to chat in the OFPEC channel, simply jump on IRC capable program, connect to any 'quakenet' server and join #ofpec.