Thanks for the feedback.
There's a good discussion on Hacker News about IRC over SSL
in response to an old QuakeNet article.
The culture shift to using IRC over SSL is slow but definitely there. It may be that newer networks are leading the shift, as new administrators take it for granted that SSL is a basic requirement.
There's no doubt that transitioning an existing, old, large IRC network to SSL is a challenge. But it should be easier than it used to be, now that free Let's Encrypt certificates are available.
In any case, the Hacker News discussion makes for good reading on the challenges, justifications, and so on.