If you are privacy and anonymity minded while working over the internet, then you should be concerned about your anonymity whilst chatting over IRC, just as much as you if you were browsing. Further, you will not be able to connect to IRC servers, such as AnonOps, unless your IRC connection is Torified.
Since all application running inside Whonix go through TOR, all applications gain the benefit of anonymity TOR offers. HexChat in Whonix has been hardened according to TorifyHOWTO/XChat.
In 1988, Internet Relay Chat (IRC) was created by the Finnish developer Jarkko Oikarinen, enabling people to connect anywhere on the Internet to join in group, live discussions (chats).
Joning an IRC chat requires an IRC client, and of course access to the internet. The client is a program that sends and receives messages from the IRC server, and the server broadcasts all the messages to all participants in the chat session. Any number of chats can run simultaneously; each one assigned to a unique channel.
HexChat (replacement for XChat) is a full-featured, cross-platform, actively developed open-source, IRC chat client. It will allow you to join multiple IRC channels simultaneously, talk publicly, and/or in private one-on-one conversations; file transfers are possible as well.
Whonix, a fork of the Debian operating system, focuses on your anonymity, privacy, and security, by utilizing the TOR network. Using the Whonix workstation, along with the Whonix gateway, your internet traffic is isolated, keeping it anonymous, private, and secure. If you want to know more about Whonix, please read this post entitled, ‘Whonix: What is it?’.
Hexchat should come preinstalled and fully configured with Whonix. If you need to install Hexchat, simply open a Whonix Workstation terminal window, and use the command:
sudo apt-get install hexchat
Using Hexchat in Whonix affords you the anonymity you seek in IRC chats, as well as access to IRC servers that require a Torified IRC connection (such as AnonOps).